The Hudson Valley—Orange County, in particular—is a Xanadu for craft beverages. The quality is unparalleled and the industry keeps on growing. Right now, there are 29 craft beverage producers in the county and many visitors come specifically to taste the fruits of their labors. With tourism at an all-time high, Orange County Tourism has just launched a fun, new initiative to entice craft beverage lovers to broaden their tasting horizons even further. We chatted with Amanda Dana, Director of Orange County Tourism & Film, about the program.
Keep on Sipping’ in OCNY!
With more than two dozen producers, the county has a lot to offer when it comes to exceptional beer, cider, wine, and spirits, but visiting its many tasting rooms can be tricky. To make navigating easier, Orange County Tourism created an all-new “Taste the Craft” Beverage Trail which can be accessed by downloading a digital passport on a mobile device. The passport simplifies the experience and adds a bit of a game to it.
How it works: Sign up and the passport will be delivered to your device (no app download needed). Then at each stop along the trail, check in via GPS and the passport will get digitally stamped. Check in to five or more locations and be eligible to win a limited edition “Orange County Taste the Craft” t-shirt. In addition, the passport offers special deals at select locations that can be redeemed at each stop. “We are excited that this trail will increase awareness of our craft beverage creators, and more people will get to enjoy the Orange County Craft Beverage experience first-hand,” says Dana.
Bevvies for Country Mice and City Mice
As the beverage scene continues to grow, so will the trail passport. Orange County is known for its sweeping landscapes and quaint, country vibe, but the passport offers incentive to visit the region’s burgeoning urban areas, too. Take an excursion to one of the county’s farm distilleries, wineries, or breweries and taste soil-to-glass beverages crafted in the heart of farmland at Rushing Duck, Palaia Winery and Meadery, Orchard Hill Cider Mill, and Black Dirt Distillery.
Or stop in urban centers where crisp craft beverages are offered in super-cool, rehabbed industrial buildings. Try Newburgh Brewing Company and The Spirits Lab in Newburgh, Equilibrium Brewery in Middletown, Fox N Hare Brewery in Port Jervis, or City Winery in Montgomery. Along the route, views of the mighty Hudson River or the Shawangunk Mountains will likely be part of the journey.
Play and Stay
Spread the fun out over the course of a weekend (make it a week!) and explore Orange County’s diverse craft beverage locations with the passport in hand. Plan a stay at one of the county’s acclaimed B&Bs, hotels, or campgrounds. “The passport is about extending your experience to check out our restaurants and other activities,” says Dana, “there is so much to do and see here.” Getting to Orange County from the city is an easy New Jersey Transit train ride on the Port Jervis line to one of several stops in the county. There are also a number of transportation services and tour companies that can get you where you want to go safely. To learn more, visit the craft beverage section on the Orange County website.
With gorgeous views and killer brews (plus wine, cider, and spirits) and the added bonus of discounts and prizes, the new “Taste the Craft” Beverage Trail passport program is a win-win-win. “It’s creating awareness and a really fun environment for folks to travel around and see our different properties,” says Dana, “and our craft beverage producers are super excited about it too.”
Use this QR code to sign up for a passport, check out different itineraries, and keep up to date on craft beverage events in Orange County. Cheers!