Celebrating our Partners: Breweries, Distilleries and Wineries
Tourism spending in the PA Wilds has grown 46% over the last decade, supporting the startup and expansion of many breweries, distilleries, and wineries. These job and wealth creators help make rural communities more vibrant, and play a key role in growing the region’s outdoor rec economy by serving visitors and promoting local and regional recreation and cultural assets as part of their brands. Many have done inspired co-branding projects with the PA Wilds. Some, like the iconic Straub Brewery, an American Legacy Brewery (still using a gravity fed system!), also offer tours, which add to the visitor experience.
Consider, Clarion River Brewing is named after the region’s National Wild & Scenic Clarion River. Bent Run Brewing in Warren is named after a popular waterfall hike in the Allegheny National Forest (a must-do hike with the kids). Yorkholo has a “PA Wilds Ale” or you could take the road less traveled and head to Lost in the Wilds Brewing in Shippenville.
While others draw on cultural attractions, such as Bradford Brew Station’s Windproof Double India Pale Ale offers homage to Zippo’s iconic windproof lighter, which is made just up the road, while Logyard Brewing’s name give a nod to the region’s rich lumber heritage.
The Wilds Sonshine Factory, which opens in August, has tied the patent for its innovative spirit, sonshine, to sunflowers grown only in the PA Wilds, and its flagship location, in Kane, PA, highlights the region’s famous dark skies and wildlife, among other things.
There is Deer Creek Winery, Elk Mountain Winery, and of course, Benezette Wines’ “Old Fred #36,” a tribute to PA’s most famous elk, who died in 2011.
The list goes on! (You can check them all out at pawilds.com.)
Williamsport-based New Trail Brewing, which employs 40 people and was just named 2021’s fastest-growing regional craft brewery in the U.S., just signed a licensing contract to bring a new PA Wilds-branded brew to market later this year. Their marketing director, Don Rieck, says he appreciates how the PA Wilds Center connects companies like his to resources and peer networks and the region’s brand.
The positioning of the region as a rec destination is critical, Rieck says. “Without PA Wilds attracting tourists we would not see the amount of foot traffic we have coming through our doors now. Continuing to grow this outdoor region matters to New Trail because this is what drives our business.”
Straub CEO Bill Brock says: “Outdoor recreation is our region’s new raw material, meant to be sustainably developed and shared within and outside of our communities.”
“The depth of what has been created goes far beyond a solid marketing campaign,” Brock says. “It is my belief that the leadership of the PA Wilds board and staff have strategically leveraged their vision for the PA Wilds in such a way that allows for shared ownership by stakeholders from across the region. It is helping all of us succeed.”
About the Series:
To celebrate June being Great Outdoors Month, we are highlighting partners throughout June who are helping grow the outdoor recreation economy here in the PA Wilds to help revitalize rural communities. Our 13-county region is the only outdoor rec industry cluster to make it to the final round of the national Build Back Better Regional Challenge competition, where we are now competing for $50M in federal investment from the US Economic Development Administration. We couldn’t have made it this far without our incredible partners!
Learn more about the PA Wilds and the BBBRC competition here.
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