MURRAY – Murray will be one of the stops on the West KY Brewery Hop, a new craft beer trail that officially launches today.

Murray Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Erin Carrico said the Murray CVB is one of nine CVBs on this half of the state that are partnering together with their local breweries on the trail. The trail features 13 craft breweries between Paducah, Murray, Benton, Bowling Green, Glasgow, Hopkinsville, Henderson, Beaver Dam and Owensboro. Those who are 21 and older can participate by obtaining a passport from their local tourism office or craft brewery. Once you have your passport in hand, you can travel to each of the breweries and get your passport stamped at each location. If you get stamps from at least seven out of the 11 locations, you can mail in your passport to the Henderson CVB to earn a West KY Brewery Hop specialty item. 

“We are excited to work with our local brewery, Hop Hound Brew Pub, to include a trail for our visitors to participate in, and explore our region as a whole,” Carrico said. “Chad and Sammie English have done a fantastic job of creating an attraction point in Murray, and we look forward to encouraging our visitors to experience what they have created within the past year.” 

Carrico said collaborating with other CVBs in the region promotes successful tourism for all partners involved. In addition to Murray’s brewery, the West KY Brew Hop includes the Mile Wide Beer Company, the Brew Bridge and Goodwood Brewing & Spirits in Owensboro; the Henderson Brewing Company; Uncrafted Territory Brewing Company in Beaver Dam; Paducah Beer Works and Dry Ground Brewing Company in Paducah; the Dam Brewhaus in Benton; Hopkinsville Brewing Company; Blue Holler Brew Supplies and Gasper Brewing Company in Bowling Green; and Yancey’s Gastropub & Brewing in Glasgow.

“This process started back in early spring with 11 CVBs across western Kentucky,” Carrico said. “And when I say ‘western Kentucky’ for this project, I mean Owensboro all the way over to Glasgow and over to Paducah, so it’s truly encompassing the western part of the commonwealth. All the CVBs joined together to create a brewery trail. There’s other brewery trails in the state, and the Bourbon Trail is very similar. There’s also the Brewgrass Trail, which is in the Lexington/Georgetown area. But this is one that is specifically focused on our microbreweries here in western Kentucky.”

Carrico said she is excited to join with other CVBs to promote western Kentucky’s microbrewery industry, as well as promoting tourism in general for each of the individual cities those CVBs serve. While similar tourism promotions exist for other Kentucky industries, she said she thinks this one will reach a demographic that isn’t always targeted.

“The brewery trail brings a different type of demographic than the traditional visitor,” Carrico said. “It’s usually people ages 25 to, I would say, 37 that traditionally travel looking for the breweries. They go from destination to destination looking for local activities and local food, so we wanted to all partner together to market what we have as a destination.”

Small breweries aiming to carve out a unique identity for themselves have been popping up in many Kentucky towns of various sizes over the last few years. Although the West KY Brewery Hop covers a fairly wide area, Carrico pointed out that travelers can visit four breweries besides Hop Hound within just an hour’s driving radius of Murray, which is evidence of how widespread these attractions have become. In a news release, Mike Mangeot, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Tourism, said the trail is a prime example of the hard work tourism offices across Kentucky have done in working together to promote the state.

“We’re excited about the new brewery trail and what it means for local economies, as well as within the commonwealth,” Mangeot said. “Our tourism industry has been greatly impacted by the pandemic, and its innovative efforts such as this will help move us forward toward recovery.” 

Participants are encouraged to experience the brewery trail at their own pace, drink responsibly and have a designated driver. The passport can be picked up at the Murray CVB office at 206 S. Fourth St. in downtown Murray or at Hop Hound Brew Pub. The passport also includes local attractions in each city listed throughout western Kentucky. For more information, visit www.westkybreweryhop.com