The 2019 Summit Brew Path will kick off March 16.
But, if you just can't wait to get your hands on the new brewery passport, there will be limited-edition, numbered passports being handed out March 9 at the Akron Art Museum Art & Ale beer tasting.
Those are a few details released Thursday morning at a stakeholder meeting hosted by the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron. The tourism agency invited the participating breweries to chat about last year, talk about potential ways to improve the brewery trail and discuss the upcoming, third program.
Jim Mahon II, vice president of marketing and brand management, noted that nearly 2,500 people redeemed their passports last year for an ending prize. Thousands more participated, but didn't complete the Akron-centric tour, which showcased 18 breweries in Summit, Stark, Portage and Medina counties.
The big question now is: What will the prize be for completing the trail this year? The first year it was a brown T-shirt and then a glass howler last year.
Or will there even be a prize?
There was discussion about bottle openers, pint glasses, mugs, baseball hats, coasters and patches. But there also seemed to be consensus that beer drinkers are completing the trail because of the challenge and camaraderie, as opposed to the perk of getting a finishing prize.
With that in mind, the organizers talked about creating a special beer event — maybe the Summit Brewers Ball. Anyone who collects all the brewery stamps on his or her passport would be eligible to attend, with the completed passport serving as the free ticket into the beer tasting. The event, which would replace prizes for every individual who finishes the trail, would include a drawing for a big cash prize, along with other prizes.
No decision was made on that topic.
One thing is certain. The brewery trail will be bigger this year, thanks to the opening of Akronym, Lock 15 and Missing Falls in Akron, and Missing Mountain in Cuyahoga Falls. (Breweries must be open by Feb. 15 to be featured in the passport this year.) Those breweries will join the following breweries:
• The Brew Kettle
• The Brick Oven BrewPub
• Hop Tree
• Hoppin' Frog
• Magic City
• Mucky Duck
• Royal Docks
• R. Shea
• Thirsty Dog
• Two Monks
There are no plans to add additional breweries in surrounding counties.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or email@example.com. Read his daily beer blog at www.ohio.com/beer. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.