How Grand Rapids, MI WON the Beer City, USA Title

Yesterday was a big day in my neck of the woods of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

After 3 days of old-school, pound-the-pavement-style campaigning… and social media pimping before, during & after, we learned that Grand Rapids earned the title of Beer City, USA for the 2nd year in a row.
Last year, Grand Rapids tied with Asheville, NC.
This year, Grand Rapids owns the title of Beer City, USA

I was honestly a little nervous when I
saw that Michigan was the only state with 3 cities competing for the Beer City title. I worried our 3 cities might split the vote like the same actor vying for an oscar in 2 or 3 films.

But… we didn’t split the vote at all. Our 3 Craft Beer-laden cities took 1st, 2nd & 4th place!! 
Cheers, Kalamazoo (2nd place) & Ann Arbor (4th place)!!
Hangin’ with Mayor Heartwell
Photo courtesy of

How did this happen?

There’s something in the water… Michiganders love craft beer. We feel so much love for all things local, and can practically taste the depth of passion for the brewers who make this treasured Michigan craft beer. We have been dubbed The Great Beer State for a reason.

How did Grand Rapids take such a dominating win… by over 15,000 votes?

Remember that little post I wrote a few weeks back about this amazing beer community we have in Michigan? I have been sitting on the sidelines for the most part as a witness & connoisseur, occasionally hitting the tv circuit to promote awesome craft beer & events from my home-state. But last week, I was totally immersed into it, head-first.
Kelli Cain of and Chas Thompson of Schmohz Brewery took the reins and began to organize a Beer City, USA pub crawl several weeks ago. With the help of the passionate beer lovers, like myself, we hit the pavement in a bus courtesy of the HopCat with fellow Grand Rapids Brewers, Mayor Heartwell, Amy Sherman of the Great American Brew Trail, Jordan Carson from WOODTV8, a few awesome ladies from and many, many more.
We passed out coasters with QR-codes so we could help people instantly vote from their phones.
We passed out buttons, stickers & #BeerCityGR tee-shirts.
Kelli Cain of & Amy Sherman of the Great Am Brew Trail
Photo courtesy of

We posted pictures on facebook, twitter & instagram.

We drank Grand Rapids beer.

We laughed.
We talked about Grand Rapids.
We talked about Michigan.
We talked about collaborations vs competition.
We talked about breweries’ commitment to everything from the environment to job growth.
We made new friends, we reunited with old friends.
Need I say more?
That’s how Grand Rapids = Beer City, USA. Here in this beautiful town, we embrace the unique differences we may have & celebrate them instead of competing with each other… it’s about collaborating. It’s about sharing the experience.
Sure, we may have gotten a little annoying competitive with our Tap-the-Vote-Grand-Rapids battle-cry, but when it came down to it, we knew in our hearts: win or lose, Grand Rapids deserved the title for more reasons than a popularity contest could possibly measure.
The BeerCityGR Pub Crawl invades The Winchester.
Photo Courtesy of

Are you interested in joining in a city-wide toast to Grand Rapids: Beer City, USA? 

Raise a pint, wherever you are, on Monday, May 20th at 6:16p! 

Momma Needs a Beer!
Photo Courtesy of


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