Grand Rapids reigns as BeerCity, U.S.A.


HopCat in downtown Grand Rapids has 48 craft beers on tap and is a key player in Beer City, U.S.A. Photo by Adam Bird

The results are in — and Grand Rapids has overwhelmingly retained its title as BeerCity, U.S.A.

Grand Rapids tallied 27,005 votes — more than 15,000 more than the second-place city Kalamazoo — in the Examiner's 2013 poll.

Last year’s co-winner, Asheville, N.C., came in third with more than 10,000 votes.

“The hard work of the people on the street gave us the big win,” said Wob Wanhatalo, Mitten Brewing Co. head brewer and a spokesperson for the Grand Rapid beer scene's movement for BeerCity. “Just us going out every night, making flyers and encouraging people to vote.”

More than 50,000 votes were cast, and the announcement came at the beginning of American Craft Beer Week.

Votes were cast in 92 countries.

More than 29,000 votes were cast in Michigan, easily the most by any state, with North Carolina coming in second with 4,000.

Michigan placed three of the top four cities, with Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor placing in the top five.

“We really see how well our Michigan Brewers Guild is run and our festivals are organized,” Wanhatalo said. “The Guild has really created the Great Beer State.”

And Michigan has its beer capital in Grand Rapids, with no plans on letting it go in the future.

“In the last year, people saw and drank what we are all about,” Wanhatalo said. “People came and toured and realized we are the real deal. We are BeerCity.”

2013 BeerCity, U.S.A. poll

1.   Grand Rapids: 27,005  

2.   Kalamazoo: 11,150  

3.   Asheville, N.C.: 10,075

4.   Ann Arbor: 847 

5.   Tampa, Fla.: 846

6.   Richmond, Va.: 614 

7.   Jacksonville, Fla.: 472 

8.   Portland, Ore.: 372

9.   Phoenix-Tempe-Scottsdale, Ariz.: 351

10. Denver, Colo.: 328 


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