When the Beer Marketing and Tourism Conference rolled into Burlington in March 2018, we were clearly in the presence of movers and shakers in a variety of artisan industries. Of course there was beer – it’s why we were there, but we were all educated about several other important handmade food products Vermont is known for, and we’re not just talking about maple syrup!
— Cape Cod Beer (@capecodbeer) March 7, 2018
— Switchback Brewing (@SwitchbackBeer) March 7, 2018
Following this delicious pairing, we were served up a lunch courtesy the staff at our host hotel, DoubleTree by Hilton. Alongside lunch were a plethora of Vermont beer choices, including offerings from von Trapp Brewing, 14th Star Brewing, Drop-In Brewery, (more from) Long Trail Brewing, and Harpoon Brewery.
So just how big are the beer and cheese industries in Vermont? Well, Vermont is number one in the country for breweries-per-capita, and its wholesale side is worth over $300 million annually. The Vermont brewery scene contributes $271 million to the Vermont economy, supports over 1,500 jobs, and brings in over a million tourists.
For Vermont cheese, we have to look at it in a larger context, specifically as it relates to Vermont’s dairy industry. Dairy annually accounts for 70-80 percent of Vermont’s agricultural sales, making it the number one state in the United States in its dependency on one commodity. Additionally, Vermont currently produces 2.3 billion pounds of milk annually from 135,000 dairy cows on about 1,000 dairy farms and the state ranks 16th nationally in milk production.
For Cabot Creamery, which is a co-op, it depends on over 1,000 family dairy farmers throughout New England to supply dairy for its cheese. Part of the creamery’s accolades include that Wine Spectator listed Cabot cloth-bound cheddar as one of “100 great cheeses” of the world in 2008. Also that year, Cabot Monterey Jack received an award from the American Cheese Society.
It is clear that beer and cheese not only pair well together, but together they are strong cornerstones of Vermont’s dedicated foundation to eating local, sourcing local, and building up local industries.