The Hopkinsville-Christian County Convention and Visitors Bureau is encouraging anyone and everyone to join them in raising a glass to a new craft beer trail in Western Kentucky, which will feature nine cities and 13 craft breweries in the region, including Hopkinsville and the Hopkinsville Brewing Company.

The Visitors Bureau announced this week that nine convention and visitor bureaus in cities across the western part of the commonwealth partnered with their craft breweries to launch a long-anticipated beer trail that they’ve dubbed the West KY Brewery Hop.

The cities and bureaus include Paducah, Murray, Benton, Bowling Green, Glasgow, Henderson, Beaver Dam, Owensboro and Hopkinsville.

Anyone that is interested in participating in the trail will have to first obtain a passport from their local craft brewery or visitors bureau. Then, after purchasing a beer from one of the local breweries participating in the trail, you will receive a stamp on your passport.

After participants have completed the trail or received a stamp from at least seven of the featured breweries, you can claim a prize by mailing the passport to the Henderson Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Once the passport has been verified, the Henderson CVB will mail the passport back along with a West KY Brewery Hop pint glass as souvenirs.

Hopkinsville-Christian County CVB Executive Director Brooke Jung shared with the New Era that the initiative has been months in the making, but she and the rest of the CVBs involved are excited to have finally been able to launch the trail.

“Our goal is to really encourage folks to travel around and explore the western part of the commonwealth, because we have such a beautiful part of the state and we really wanted to get folks out and about and give them the opportunity to explore the 13 breweries that are on the western part of the state,” Jung said.

Jung added that there are other brewery hops, ale trails and even bourbon trails throughout the state, but there has never before been a brewery trail for the western part of Kentucky.

“We hope that individuals will take the chance to explore those cities and stay overnight, make it a multi-day trip and we want people to spend time exploring each of the cities,” she said.

The brewery hop passport features not only a description and location for each of the 13 breweries, but they also include three other places and things to check out for each of the nine cities.

“There’s even a QR code on each city’s page that leads (people) back to that city’s CVB website so they can really take in all the different sites and learn more about that community,” Jung said, adding that she and the other CVBs hope the trail will invite additional tourism in each of the cities.

Jung also shared that she and the Hopkinsville-Christian County CVB is proud to be able to showcase the Hopkinsville Brewing Company as part of the brewery hop.

“We really want to highlight them,” she said. “I think that it’s so amazing that we have this craft brewery — the only woman and veteran-owned brewery on the West Kentucky Brewery Hop, which is exciting, and the national exposure and recognition that they’ve received lately is just another feather in that cap of being such an incredible brewery here in our community.

“So, we are just so excited to be able to highlight them and focus on all the great things that they are doing.”

HBC Owner Kate Russell also shared her excitement to be able to participate in the brewery hop as well as encourage patrons to explore other local breweries.

“We’re super excited about it, because some of us at the western Kentucky breweries have been talking about this for years, but we just didn’t have the resources to promote it or print it,” Russell said.

“So, we were super excited when Brooke (Jung) came to us and asked us if we wanted to be a part of it and it all came together beautifully and we’re so happy with it.

“Having seen it in other places, it’s neat to finally have it out here and be able to send people from brewery to brewery, because we do that anyway. We usually tell people, ‘Hey, if you’re on your way to St. Louis, stop off in Paducah,’ or ‘If you’re going to Evansville, stop in Henderson.’ So, it’s neat to see people get awarded for that now, in addition to getting beer, which is its own reward.”

Russell added that she hopes that being featured in the brewery hop will provide additional opportunities for the local brewery to partner with other breweries in the region.

“I think that it’s also a way to open the door to future collaborations with other breweries, because now we have — in addition to being a brewery as part of the Kentucky Guild of Brewers — we’re part of something even smaller than that,” she said. “So, I think it’ll help just foster more collaboration and more collaborative effort.”

The other breweries that are featured in the brewery hop include Mile Wide Beer Company, the Brew Bridge and Goodwood Brewing and Spirits in Owensboro, Henderson Brewing Company, Uncrafted Territory Brewing Company in Beaver Dam, Paducah Beer Werks, Dry Ground Brewing Company in Paducah, Hop Hound Brew Pub in Murray, the Dam Brewhaus in Benton, Yancey’s Gastropub and Brewery in Glasgow, Blue Holler Brew Supplies and Gasper Brewing Company in Bowling Green.

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