4 Reasons Why You Should Drink Local — And How to Do it
by Henry Moore
When you think of shopping local, your mind probably goes to stopping by the local hardware store rather than Home Depot, or picking up produce from the co-op. But what about drinking local? Supporting local drinking establishments can be a great way to boost your local economy and bring life to your neighborhood. Here’s why you should drink local this St. Patrick’s Day — and any other time — and how you can do it.
Drinking Local: The Why
Support Local Economies
Local bars and breweries create jobs and generate tax revenue for a vibrant local economy. When you patronize your local drinking establishments, you’re helping to sustain half a dozen or more jobs — and when those employees are off the clock, they’ll be spending their hard-earned cash in your town.
Contribute to Neighborhood Revitalization
Urban neighborhoods around the country have been enjoying a boon of revitalization, and bars and breweries have been a major driver. By providing a third place, somewhere people can meet to socialize outside of the spheres of work and home, drinking establishments serve as people magnets. They draw in crowds that hang around to grab dinner or stop into a store or two, helping to turn languishing neighborhoods into pockets of prosperity.
Help the Environment
Drinking local is much better for the environment than drinking mass-produced alcohol that must be transported across the country before it gets to you. Since local breweries operate in a more intimate sphere, sourcing ingredients and distributing locally, they have a much smaller carbon footprint.
Support Local Musicians
Local bars and breweries often provide a stage to up-and-coming musicians, letting them grow their fan base and build experience before embarking on a national tour. Bars are also a popular venue for independent touring musicians, so you can see your favorite band without having to pay big bucks for a stadium show.
Drinking Local: The How
You may not head to your local drinking establishment with such lofty goals as supporting your economy and protecting the environment, but if you’re heading out anyway, there are a few things you can do to maximize the benefits of drinking local.
Order Local Brews
When you’re heading to your favorite bar, make a point to try a local draft or two. Bars are increasingly offering local beers on tap, and even local spirits in places lucky enough to have a distillery. And, for the most part, they’re not any more expensive than your favorite import.
Check Out a GastroPub
Craving a dinner out? Skip the chain establishments and seek out a gastropub to enjoy inventive takes on typical bar fare. If you’re in the mood for a different type of cuisine, head to the restaurant of your choice and order a locally-sourced craft beer, wine, or cocktail while you dine.
Stop in to Local Shows
Keep an eye on your city’s events calendars, and stop by the bar to catch a local musician playing a set. Even if you’ve never heard of the artist, the cover fees are usually small, it’s a great excuse to grab a drink, and you may even discover a new favorite band.
Tour a Brewery
For a unique date, schedule a brewery tour at a local craft brewhouse. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the brewing process, meet the brewers, and even get to try some tasty samples. Most breweries offer group and private tours for a reasonable price.
Supporting your local drinking establishments doesn’t have to mean major habit changes. By paying just a little more attention to patronizing local bars and ordering local brews, you can be part of a movement that’s bringing new life to towns and cities across the country — and have fun while doing it.
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