Editors note. This post is an updated version of a similar one last year.
The BeerCity USA poll went live Tuesday morning, and we’ve been furiously tapping away at the computer keys to get the word out about the #BeerCityTPA campaign to bring the title to the Tampa Bay area.
First, if you haven’t voted yet, click here and vote for Tampa, then come back and learn how you can help spread the word.
We are not going to talk here about how Tampa deserves to be BeerCity USA. Our love for Florida and its craft beer scene is well-documented. Neither will we put down the current BeerCity USA title holder, Asheville. It’s a beautiful town with a great beer community.
Rather, this post is about strategies and benefits.
The #BeerCityTPA campaign is fueled by social media. Share, share, share and it can grow exponentially. Here is a short custom link that you can use for Twitter: http://bit.ly/BeerCityTPA13. Send that out with the #BeerCityTPA hashtag. Put the link on your Facebook page and encourage your friends to vote.
We created a Facebook Fan Page at www.facebook.com/BeerCityTPA. Please like it, and we’ll try to keep it updated with the campaign’s progress. Note: Unlike previous year, we will not be able to track the number of votes during the campaign.
We also filmed a short video at the Cajun Café Bayou Spring Craft Beer Festival last year, in which several Tampa Bay area craft beer brewers and industry folks answered the question: “Why Should the Tampa Bay area be the Next BeerCity USA?” You can view and download the video here. Please feel free to share and embed the video on your websites, blogs, Facebook pages, etc. We don’t ask for credit or linkbacks. It’s for all of us.
The poll is set up so you can only vote once per computer. Don’t many of us have access to more than one computer? And a smartphone? ‘Nuff said.
Asheville has made the most of the BeerCity USA title during the past four years (it tied with Portland, Oregon, in 2009, the first year of the unscientific poll, and with Grand Rapids, Michigan, last year). It’s a source of community pride, and the city uses the title to market itself as a destination. Now, many of you Floridians might think, “We’ve already got enough damn tourists around here,” but the fact is our economy is based on their dollars, and in these economic times, we could use all of those we can get.
Sierra Nevada, New Belgium both announced last year that they are building new breweries in the Asheville area, and Oskar Blues has already opened its East Coast brewery there. Did having the BeerCity USA title help? Well, it certainly didn’t hurt.
Naysayers may call it a “bogus poll” – it’s without a doubt unscientific – but most of those negative remarks come from locals in the losing cities.
Most importantly, it’s a chance to show the world we mean business, that we’re proud of what our once little beer scene has become, and a chance to come together as a community. Not just our beer community, but everybody. I think Charlie Papazian said it best in his post announcing the poll:
BeerCity USA poll highlights the spirit of support local, small town and big city Americans generate on behalf of their communities. BeerCity USA is not a measure of beer quality, number of breweries, volume of beer enjoyed nor any kind of “best-of-show” measurement.
It’s an indicator of the coherent nature of beer communities. It celebrates and recognizes the importance of responsible enjoyment and social interaction. One could take a look at the numbers from many perspectives: economic impacts, breweries per capita, regulatory impact, beer consumption, comparative share of craft beer from craft brewers, blue versus red, winning baseball teams, stadium beer offerings, jobs created, big versus small, etc.
But at its core BeerCity USA measures a previously unheralded aspect of beer enthusiasm: Local support of the final sum which is the enthusiasm for beer choice, diversity, flavor and accessibility. Most importantly it highlights “beer” as the meeting place.
This is why the “royal we” has been used in this post. It’s not about one person, one group or even one city. It benefits everyone.
We hope the entire state gets behind this effort, from Key West to Orlando to Pensacola, because as it is often said, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” (We exempt Jacksonville, which again landed on the ballot this year through an admirable write-in effort during the nomination process.)
Are we underdogs? Certainly. But ask Joe Namath, the 1980 U.S. Olympics hockey team or the ragtag rebels of the Revolutionary War. Sometimes underdogs win.
Vote early. Vote often. Vote Tampa!