“[Asheville] is not only behind its small brewers, but behind local business. I encountered several people at non-brewery restaurants, ticket counters, rental car desks, hotel management and more who were … very aware of their city’s brewers and what they meant to the people of Asheville. Some didn’t even drink beer, but loved the idea of hometown small business,” writes beer guru Charlie Papazian about Asheville’s first-place showing in the third online beer poll this week.
For the third year in a row, Asheville won the title of BeerCity USA against larger and more renowned opponents (although year-one consisted of a tie for first with Portland, Ore.).
Papazian calls Asheville “a unique small town of 80,000 in the hills of western North Carolina,” with eight small breweries inside the city limits, and several others in the surrounding area. “I visited Asheville earlier this year, to see what this city was made of. Beer geek city USA? Not at all. Actually far from it. It’s a diverse and energized cosmopolitan town with an active appreciation for local businesses. While franchise type restaurants are along the roadsides leading to and from Asheville, you’ll be very hard pressed to encounter anything but locally owned small retail businesses in downtown Asheville,” Papazian writes.
“The BeerCity USA poll is about community pride. Not just beer…. I think it’s about the essence of the American craft beer phenomenon we are all experiencing. It’s about main street, grass roots, community support, not mainstream data and statistics,” according to the poll’s founder.
Compared to last year’s poll in which 19,000 votes were cast, this year’s poll saw 14,999 votes cast. This year, 7,002 votes were cast for Asheville, while San Diego community received 2,374, easily surpassing Portland, Ore., which had 1,495 votes.
Last year, Asheville won with 7,389 votes, and Portland came in second with 6,565 votes.