Updated December 2016
Booze is a big business. Every year more than $400 billion is spent on beer, bourbon, wine, and other kinds of alcohol. And there's no doubt, the tourism side of the industry is certainly alive and well. In the DFW area alone there are at least 40 breweries, several distilleries, and (a quick google search shows) roughly 45 wineries within driving distance of DFW. And I'm sure there are plenty of each of those near wherever you live too.
But don't limit yourself by staying nearby. There are hundreds of options around the country you can drink in!
Here's just a taste
Napa Valley: You've probably all heard of the place (I mean, it gets about 4 million visitors every year). If you're a wino this place is heaven. There are more than 400 wineries in the area! One of the closest airports to Napa Valley is San Francisco International. From there you can rent a car or get a car service to drive you to the wine. I understand the most popular time to visit is during harvest time (September and October) in the fall.
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail: Why not give it a shot? The Bourbon Trail has many of the most recognizable bourbon brands in the world including Four Roses, Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, Woodford Reserve, and (my personal favorite) Wild Turkey (which has a kind of a "party reputation," but they make some good stuff! Oh, and they've had the same master distiller for 60 years! His name: Jimmy Russell). According to the Bourbon Trail's website, Louisville is a good starting point. You can plan your own tours or let a company like this one plan it for you.
Texas Hill Country Wineries: The wine trail in this area is centered around Fredericksburg (south of Austin, north of San Antonio). There are at least 53 wineries (or, if you're reading this in a day or two, probably more) in the area. Like Napa Valley, the most popular time of the year for this area is during the fall. Several of the wineries are centered along US Highway 290 which makes it easy to hit them up. Whenever my girlfriend and I visit (hopefully soon) we'll be staying at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Spa.
Portland, Oregon: If you're a beer fan, Portland is the place to be. With 105 breweries in the metro area, you've got no shortage of places to choose from. And they're brews you've likely heard of like BridgePort, Widmer Brothers, Rogue, Hair of the Dog, Full Sail, and Cascade Brewing. Hell, when you land in Portland you'll find a brewery at the frickin' airport! No doubt, if you're a beer fan, you can't top Portland.
There's no doubt about it, booze is a big business. And there's more to it than just heading down the street to your favorite bar. Explore your area and see what it has to offer. Take a trip, and sip on your favorite beverage. Hell, maybe it'll make it taste even better than it already does! Cheers.
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