Asheville cedes ‘Beer City’ title to Grand Rapids

Photo by Max Cooper

After a four year winning streak, Asheville lost its title of ‘Beer City USA’ to Grand Rapids, Mich., according to poll results released May 13.

Conducted by craft beer guru Charlie Papazian, the unscientific online poll showed Grand Rapids winning decisively with 27,005 votes. Kalamazoo, Mich. came in second with 11,150 votes and Asheville placed third, with 10,075. Last year, Asheville tied Grand Rapids for first place.

Since Asheville’s tie for first in 2009 with Portland, Ore. the title has helped attract national attention to the area for its thriving craft beer scene.

The local industry continues to boom, with New Belgium and Sierra Nevada brewing companies in the process of building major production facilities and several smaller breweries slated to open in coming months. However, Asheville garnered significantly less votes in this year’s poll than it did in 2012. Here’s the list of the top ten craft beer cities that registered in the polls:

2013 votes (2012 votes)

1. Grand Rapids, MI 27,005 (2012:17,849 tie for 1st)
2. Kalamazoo, MI 11,150 (2012: none)
3. Asheville, NC 10,075 (2012:17,849 tie for 1st)
4. Ann Arbor, MI 847 (2012:581)
5. Tampa, FL 846 (2012: none)
6. Richmond, VA 614 (2012: none)
7. Jacksonville, FL 472 (2012: 379)
8. Portland, OR 372 (2012: 2,014)
9. Phoenix-Tempe-Scottsdale, AZ 351 (2012: 596)
10. Denver, CO 328 (2012: 809)

For more on the poll, see Papazian’s article for the


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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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7 thoughts on “Asheville cedes ‘Beer City’ title to Grand Rapids

  1. boatrocker

    Hopefully we didn’t lose this title for drinking less local beer-

    Hopefully we lost this title for being less connected to middle school girl social media sites and voting (less) for online popularity contests.

  2. Big Al

    Silly poll. Silly premise.

    As a local, I will shed no tears that Asheville’s biggest claim to fame is no longer beer. And if losing “beer city” status leads to losing tourism (which I doubt), then this town has bigger problems to address than how to win an on-line poll, OR how to brew more/better beer.

  3. boatrocker

    Yeah, that ‘Feral’ video was tres mal awful. I want my time back for watching it. We know they are a local comedy troupe (and comedy is supposed to be “edgy”?), but why not just work for the Aloft greeting troupe on the ground floor for tips for making a video like that?

    Don’t get me started on that purple bus for doing the same.

    The Namaste Syndrome strikes again. All the travel mags say “Woot woot!”.

    Thank you Wainscott for showing why this town needs to take a step back for wanting to be the indie hipster/second home capital of the world. I’ve heard something about a living wage- but don’t tell your friends.

    Or maybe Ashevillians should actually read “The Great Gatsby” before they SEE IT IN 3-D!!! Fitzgerald drank at the Grove Park and created character studies of annoying noveau riche leeches from Grove Park archetypes long before this poster pointed it out.

    Sadly, we can drink with the best here but our self-imposed economy limits our funds to sample our own local brews.

  4. JDC

    I demand a recount! (I felt this stance was underrepresented in the comment section.)


  5. jdawg

    The “Beer City” thing was never real anyway. It always felt like a cheap marketing tool. I’m proud of this town for many reasons, but towns like Portland don’t need to win a title that they know they already own.

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