The results came in earlier this week. Grand Rapids, Michigan has been crowned Beer City USA for the second year. But this year they do not share the title.
Of the 56,000 votes cast, Grand Rapids garnered 27,000. This was a climb from last year when they had claimed roughly 17,000. Kalamazoo edged out Asheville, North Carolina for the number 2 spot with a little more than 11,000 votes (Asheville had closer to 10,000). This was a huge wine for West Michigan. It further showed the growth of Michigan breweries when Ann Arbor landed the 4th spot at a little over 800 votes. It is interesting to note that the top three took so many of the votes (roughly 87%).
During the polls, the site allowed comments for those voting to mark their vote for others to see. Votes were not counted in real time this year so this was the only way to get an idea of where the votes were going.
Threads like this tend to become filled with trolls. It seems to be what some pass for fun on the internet. Those can be ignored. The ones that I find interesting though are the comments from those who oppose the whole idea of voting.
There is an old saying “There is no one more devote than a new convert.” This saying carries a few different ideas that pertain to this situation. Many times the people who are in opposition to this vote are in areas with more established beer communities. The belief being that they don’t have to prove anything because they know what they have going for them. This is just a silly online poll right.
But those attitudes can be just as bad as the trolls. The title of Beer City is a bit more than just something won through a poll. In the end it is the community rallying around the businesses that are bringing in jobs; rallying around the communities rich culture of art and food. These are things a community can take pride in.
Something happened last year when Grand Rapids won their shared crown with Asheville. You see last year, Grand Rapids was in roughly the same place as Kalamazoo was in this year. Many of the breweries they used for their platform only came in over the past year. The growth they are experiencing is still happening.
The same can be said for Kalamazoo, Asheville, and even Ann Arbor. These are communities that are growing and becoming stand outs in the greater scheme of things. They all have something to be proud of.
It will be interesting to see where the next year takes these cities. I suspect there will be quite a few changes for the better, that will not only benefit the cities themselves but also the beer community as a whole.
Time for a pint…