Eastern Shore’s craft beer industry at the center of new study


MARYLAND – New research on the craft beer industry is about to begin on the Eastern Shore and experts say it could influence the industry on a nationwide level.

“We can count the different license plates from Maine to Florida every weekend but this study will show the actual economic impact we have,” says Bryan Brushmiller, the owner of Burley Oak Brewing Company in Berlin.

Local brewery owners and craft beer enthusiasts say right now the industry doesn’t have specific data about the buying patterns of their customers or how that’s being influenced by the pandemic. Dr. Gina Bloodworth, an Associate Professor in the Geography and Environmental Studies departments at Salisbury University, says, “Do they live next door? Do they drive two blocks to the Burley Oak Brewery? Have they come from Connecticut?”

That may all change very soon thanks to a new research endeavor between Dr. Bloodworth at Salisbury University and the organization Shore Craft Beer. Ann McGinnis Hillyer, the CEO of Shore Craft Beer, says, “Hopefully what we can determine is who is traveling or craft beer? And people that have traveled for craft beer, what are their COVID practices now? Are they still traveling?”

The Rural Maryland Council awarded them a roughly $30,000 grant to gather data that kind of data. They say they intend to focus on the virtual side of things and they’re looking to survey about 2,500 people through the Shore Craft Beer app and by email.

“You can tell where people come from to buy beer here, are they buying that beer when they go home, the distributers have maps of where that beer is distributed,” says McGinnis Hillyer

Those involved say the goal is to use and distribute this information to improve marketing techniques as well as understand the economic impacts of the craft brewing industry.

“In general we can see the tourist pattern we think from this data and I think that’s going to be really great not just for us as s small business but also for Worcester County, the town of Berlin, Ocean City. We think that will be a great resource for them,” says Brushmiller.

You can download the Shore Craft Beer app to participate in the surveys. They’d like to start surveying by October 23rd which line up with the two local beer festivals. One of those festivals involves blue wristbands which get you special deals that weekend at more than a dozen restaurants and bars. Click here to learn more about the festivals.

Click here for the Shore Craft Beer app in the Apple Store. 

Click here for the Shore Craft Beer app in the Google Play Store.

The research will continue into 2021. We’re told the project goes for a year but they hope to secure enough funding to do two rounds of surveys.

Categories: Local News, Maryland