Good news for fans of the Summit Brew Path.

The Akron-area beer trail will return next year thanks to an overwhelming response in its inaugural year.

The Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau, which organized the program as a way to drive visitors to Summit County, already has handed out nearly 20,000 beer passports.

Beer fans take the passports around to local breweries, buy a beer and have them stamped just like a real passport.

Nearly 1,000 people have completed the 14-brewery trail and redeemed their passport for a free T-shirt. Beer drinkers have until the end of the calendar year to finish the trail.

The tourism agency is now working on next year’s passport program and trying to accommodate plenty of new breweries that have opened since the Summit Brew Path launched, said Jim Mahon II, vice president of marketing and brand management.

There may be some tweaks ahead, including a redesigned passport and a mid-level prize for visiting a certain number of breweries as opposed to all of them.

The design changes are being prompted by a spike in brewery openings in Summit County. At least 10 breweries have either opened since the Summit Brew Path launched or plan to open soon.

The inaugural passport program featured breweries in Summit, Medina, Portage and Stark counties.

For more details on the Summit Brew Path, check out: www.summitbrewpath.com.

Homebrewing

A new survey by the American Homebrewers Association estimates that there are 1.1 million homebrewers in the United States, with 40 percent of them taking up the hobby within the last four years.

“Homebrewing, in our opinion, is the greatest hobby there is, and the state of the hobby — underscored by homebrewers’ passion, commitment and creativity — is strong,” AHA Director Gary Glass said in a prepared statement.

Other highlights from the online survey, conducted of 18,000 participants by 1st Resource from July 21 to Sept. 22:

• The average homebrewer is 42 years old, with 52 percent being between 30 and 49.

• Eighty-five percent are married or are in a domestic relationship.

• Sixty-eight percent have at least a college degree and the same percentage have a household income of $75,000 or more.

• Homebrewers are spread all over the country. There are 31 percent in the South, 26 percent in the Midwest, 24 percent in the Northeast and 19 percent in the West.

Thirsty Dog wins

Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. topped Great Lakes Brewing Co. in a head to head Christmas beer tasting last week at Twiisted Burgers & Sushi in Medina.

Thirsty Dog, which produces 12 Dogs of Christmas, bested Great Lakes, which makes the popular Christmas Ale.

A panel of judges chose 12 Dogs 4 to 1, but the customer vote was much closer, the restaurant said.

Twiisted hosts regular tap takeover battles between breweries. This one was considered special because it pitted Christmas Ale from Cleveland — one of the best-selling beers in Ohio — against its rival 12 Dogs in Akron.

Platform news

Platform Beer Co. has launched a series of nonprofit fundraising events every Tuesday at its Cleveland and Columbus locations.

Each week, the brewery will donate $1 for every beer sold to a local charity.

The program kicked off Tuesday and benefited Bike Cleveland.

In addition to fundraisers at the tasting rooms, Platform says it has committed to donating $1 of every case of New Cleveland Palesner sold in Northeast Ohio to a local charity starting this month. Bike Cleveland also will be the first recipient. The benefiting organization will change every six months.

Beer tasting

The annual Winter Wine and Ale Fest runs from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Global Center for Health Innovation, 1 St. Clair Ave., Cleveland.

The event benefits the Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s Homeless Fund.

General admission tickets are $40, while VIP tickets are $75.

For more details, check out: www.downtowncleveland.com.

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com. Read his beer blog at www.Ohio.com/beer. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.