Widespread community enthusiasm earned Asheville BeerCity USA title, says pollster Charlie Papazian

“[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.



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About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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One thought on “Widespread community enthusiasm earned Asheville BeerCity USA title, says pollster Charlie Papazian

  1. Jim Long

    Don’t get excited folks, this is an unscientific survey that North Carolinians worship. Most Americans did not hear of or know that the survey was being conducted.

    Congratulations on winning an unscientific and invalid survey.
    Let’s have a beer and celebrate

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