Foodies rejoice: Grand Rapids has been recognized for its exceptional food and beverage tourism in a global competition. Michigan Live reports that Grand Rapids was just recognized by the FoodTrekking Awards, ranking second in the Best Food and Beverage Destination Experience category. Ontario, Canada took the top spot.
“We are looking for the world’s best destinations with exceptional food and drink experiences,” the category description reads. “Why is your destination the best? Do you offer an outstanding food and drink culture? Do you hold any gastronomic events or do you have simply the best farmers markets? All organizations that function in a “tourism promotion” function are eligible to apply.”
Grand Rapids, twice named “Beer City USA,” fits right into this category, according to the seven international food, drink, and tourism gurus who judged the competition. The judges select winners from applications submitted on the organization’s website. Kate Herron, the Director of Marketing with Experience Grand Rapids, said in a statement to Michigan Live that the ranking was well deserved.
“Beer City USA pairs perfectly with the emerging culinary scene in Grand Rapids,” she said. “We have a plethora of artesian culinary businesses popping up, and high quality restaurants as well which all contribute to this award in their own way.”
This recognition comes with the rise of digital “foodie” culture, with both Grand Rapids residents and tourists constantly posting photos of their culinary experiences. Breweries and similar businesses, for example, are hotspots for these social sharers, with over 11 million Instagram posts currently tagged #craftbeer. This has given local small businesses an entirely new way to find customers, as 51% of smartphone users discover new companies or products while searching on their mobile devices.
But social media users aren’t the only ones taking note of the growing Michigan restaurant scene. Grand Rapids foodie culture has been documented in national publications including Thrillist and Bon Appetit.
“Grand Rapids has tons of breweries and brewpubs and beer bars and beer-focused gastropubs, several of which we highlight here,” Nicole Rupersburg writes in Thrillist. “But that’s not all G-Rap is about! There is a huge focus on farm-to-table cuisine (easy for them, because the city is quite literally surrounded by a hundred miles of farmland in every direction), in-house butchery and charcuterie, and a pointed Michigan mindfulness.”
Michigan Live reports that applications for the 2018 FoodTrekker awards will open again in October of this year. Will Beer City USA rank again? Let your taste buds decide.