Business owners are working hard to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes developing alternative ways to connect with the public during the current closures as well as planning for a safe and successful reopening. The Henderson County Tourism Development Authority (TDA) aims to help area wineries, breweries, cideries and meaderies do both by promoting the Hendersonville Cheers! Trail.
“We feel supporting the trail is important since it includes several small businesses that will need all the backing we can give them,” says Henderson County Tourism public relations representative Leah Hughes. “The trail should be a good way for people to ease back into traveling, as many of the stops are located along scenic backroads that provide a leisurely drive and offer plenty of space, often outdoors, for enjoying a craft beverage while social distancing.”
As part of this effort, the Henderson County TDA is introducing the Cheers! Trail Passport. Available to purchase for $10, the passport allows guests to chronicle their tasting journey by getting a stamp at each location. With 12 stamps, they can bring their passport to the Visitor Center and receive their choice of swag items.
“Hendersonville’s Cheers! Trail is the only trail in NC showcasing four different types of craft and artisan beverages,” says Henderson County Tourism director Beth Carden.
Created in 2016 with just six venues, the trail now consists of 17 stops. Two new locations were added this year. Mills River Brewing Company, founded in 2015 in Arden and relocated to Mills River in 2019, produces everything from Irish stout and German beer to a variety of IPAs and ales served in an 8,600-square-foot brewing facility and taproom. Burning Blush Brewery, also in Mills River, offers an array of German and Czech style lagers, English ales and many American style IPAs. The brewery also boasts a 12,000-square-foot beer garden.
“At Burning Blush Brewery, we will be reconfiguring our tables inside and outside and following all guidelines regarding reopening that are provided by the North Carolina government,” says owner Whit Lanning. “During the COVID-19 outbreak we have received overwhelming support from the community.”
Most Cheers! Trail venues currently offer online ordering or to-go options for beverages and merchandise. Some locations host food trucks on specified dates.
For links to venues or to purchase a Cheers! Trail Passport, visit CheersTrail.org.