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Follow the Santa Cruz Beer Trail

298dc402-b408-410a-884c-9391e4d6ccacOctober 6, 2015 – You don’t have to be a beer drinker to be aware of the impressive craft beer scene that has become a pillar of the Santa Cruz community. With ten craft breweries, six tap houses, and at least four new breweries in various stages of development, Santa Cruz is quickly becoming a beer mecca—celebrated and supported by locals and beer-loving tourists alike. To help wrangle this sprawling beer scene and put this craft beer community (literally) on the map, Annie Pautsch is launching the Santa Cruz Beer Trail.

Pautsch—founder and tour guide extraordinaire of Brew Cruz, the school bus beer tour that has quickly become a Santa Cruz landmark—and her partner Bryce Root have created the Santa Cruz Beer Trail, an interactive map and website set to go live next week.

The SC Beer Trail was born, Pautsch explains, “out of the need to have one place for both local and visiting craft beer fans to connect and experience” all that this beer scene has to offer. Possibly the biggest cheerleader of the Santa Cruz beer community, Pautsch also sees this as a resource for our local breweries and tap houses “to be represented and benefit from one entity that is devoted to supporting and increasing their exposure on a local, regional, and national level.”

When the website launches, it will be a “one-stop-shop for everything craft beer.” The interactive map will be a choose-your-own-adventure guide, allowing visitors to explore a variety of different routes depending on what they’re looking for. You can make a custom route based on particular beer styles you’re thirsty for, and then narrow your search further with details like places that serve food or that allow dogs. Your personalized trail will be complete with driving and walking directions to all the tap houses and breweries.

Annie Pautsch of Santa Cruz Beer Trail and Beer Cruz
Annie Pautsch of Santa Cruz Beer Trail and Beer Cruz

With a beer scene that is constantly changing and growing, the Santa Cruz Beer Trail will also be adaptable. Pautsch—who is at multiple breweries several times a week on tours and knows all the beer news—has made sure to include a live social media feed on the website where breweries can update tap lists and promote other news and events. And for those less familiar with all the brew options, or for those who can’t get enough of it, Pautsch and her team made a Trail Video that features a behind-the-scenes look at all of the breweries and tap houses and focuses on the owners, brewers, employees and community that keep the beer flowing.

“Santa Cruz deserves to be in the spotlight for its amazing craft beer scene,” Pautsch says. She’ll still be taking people on tours with Brew Cruz, but she’s excited that locals and visitors will be forging their own trails.

To further encourage the masses to get out and explore, the SC Beer Trail will be releasing The Trail Passport next month. It will be full of deals and perks to bring along on your exploration and ready to be filled with stamps from all participating breweries. Pautsch believes that this will “motivate locals and visitors to discover and experience at their own pace and see first-hand why our beer scene is so unique.”

What makes the craft beer scene in Santa Cruz unique is a true sense of community. Walk into any brewery in town and the staff will excitedly give you a list of other places to visit. It’s about craft, and it’s about community, and the SC Beer Trail will offer a path that ties those things together.


About the author

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Rosie Parker, a native New Englander, likes to complain of missing home
while living the Santa Cruz high life—surfing, hiking, writing and working
for a delicious craft brewery.