Austin’s craft beer scene is booming and shows no signs of slowing down. With so many breweries to choose from, visiting them all can be a daunting task. That’s where the Austin Ale Trail comes in, grab a passport for $5 at one of the participating partners, visit local breweries to get a stamp, and redeem your passport for unique swag.
I caught up with founder Kwaku Kankam to learn more about the Austin Ale Trail program.
How did the Austin Ale Trail Come about?
The Austin Ale Trail was born out of an idea to find a fun way to unite people to craft beer. When I travel to new cities the first thing I like to do is search for breweries in the area. In my travels, I have come across other passport programs that really helped me explore the city I was in, which made me think, why doesn’t Austin have something like this? We have over 60 breweries in the city and the majority of them have taprooms to explore! I figured if I enjoy it this much when I travel I am sure other craft beer lovers would like an excuse to explore their city like it’s a vacation too. I began reaching out to all the craft breweries in the area and with their help and support I designed a passport program to incentivize locals and tourists to better explore craft beer in the Austin area.
Tell us more about the program.
The program features a passport booklet, which includes the participating Austin area breweries. In this passport, you will find information on the breweries including a short bio, taproom hours, patio and dog accessibility, and dining options. There are also portions of each page, which allow for interaction including journaling your favorite beer, or your thought on the vibe, but for the most part, the passport is used to collect STAMPS! One of the best parts about entering a new country is getting your passport stamp and being welcomed into a new experience. We want our passport holders to share that experience when trying a craft beer from a new taproom. Every time you make a purchase at a brewery you will receive a stamp from that brewery signifying you have been there. The idea is to go to as many breweries as possible and thus collect a stamp from each of them. When you complete a certain number of brewery stops you can redeem your passport for Austin Ale Trail branded merchandise including stickers, pint glasses, and shirts.
Awesome, how do I participate?
You can join this year’s Austin Ale Trail experience by purchasing an Austin Ale Trail Passport at participating resale locations around the city. Redemption of merchandise will end December 31st; however, the passport is yours to keep as a novelty item even if it is not used at that time. The Austin Ale Trail will be releasing a new edition each Spring including updated breweries, sponsors, and prizes, which will allow for merchandise redemption until December 31st.
What’s next for the Austin Ale Trail?
One of the best parts about this program is the feedback we have received from both the patrons and the breweries. Feedback ranges from people who are new to the city to people who have lived here all their lives. We have heard from the community that people really enjoy having a mission to complete or a fun new way to explore the town. Unfortunately, we feel that not everyone that enjoys craft beer in the city knows about the program, so for the coming years, we want to expand the program so more people can share this enjoyment. The continued growth of the Passport program will arise through partnership and new sponsorship, which has been ongoing throughout the year. This will enable us to promote and build brand awareness that would allow recognition from everyone in the craft beer community here in Austin and around the nation.