UPDATE: Asheville places third in USA Today poll of nation’s ‘Best Beer Town’

Wicked Weed Brewing (photo by Tim Robison)

The final results are in, and Asheville finished third in USA TODAY’s Readers’ Choice poll of the country’s “Best Beer Town.”

Grand Rapids, Mich., won the unscientific survey, with the national publication declaring that “Beer lovers of America have made their voices heard” and that the city “can now call itself the Best Beer Town.”

Grand Rapids also bested Asheville in the last iteration of the “Beer City USA” poll in 2013, which was conducted by craft beer guru Charlie Papazian. Since Asheville’s tie for first in 2009 with Portland, Ore. in Papazian’s poll, the title helped attract national attention to the area for its thriving craft beer scene. Papazian decided not to conduct the poll this year.

USA TODAY didn’t publicize the number of participants in its Best Beer Town survey. Tampa Fla. placed second.

Here’s a list of the top-ten finishers:

  1. Grand Rapids, Mich.
  2. Tampa
  3. Asheville, N.C.
  4. Bend, Ore.
  5. Fort Collins, Colo.
  6. San Diego
  7. Portland, Maine
  8. Portland, Ore.
  9. Denver
  10. Burlington, Vt.



Picking up where the previous BeerCity USA poll left off, USA Today is conducting an online poll to determine the nation’s “Best Beer Town.”

The publication asked a panel of experts to pick the country’s 20 best cities for beer-centric travel. The finalists include Asheville as well as much bigger destinations such as San Francisco, New York and Austin. The winner will be determined by public voting, open through Oct. 13.

As of Sept. 17, Asheville hadn’t received enough votes in the USA Today contest to register in the Top 5. Grand Rapids, Mich. lead the pack in votes, followed by Tampa, Fla., Portland, Maine, Bend, Ore. and Portland, Ore. Voting is allowed once per day until the contest ends.

After voting the USA Today site reveals the current standings in the poll.
After voting the USA Today site reveals the current standings in the poll.

Asheville tied or won previous BeerCity USA polls from 2009 through 2012 before losing outright to Grand Rapids in 2013. The high rankings helped brand the city as a serious craft beer hub, growing local support for the industry and drawing tourism dollars. National craft beer guru Charlie Papazian retired that poll earlier this year, writing that it had “served its purpose” by measuring “community support for craft brewers and the spirit of community they were helping to build.”

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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