Sonoma Beer Country? Pliny the Younger brings big bucks to wine-rich county

It’s well known that Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa has the Midas touch. Now we can actually quantify it, thanks to a recent economic study.

Not only is brewmaster/co-owner Vinnie Cilurzo considered one of the best beer talents in the world, his limited-release Pliny the Younger has become the stuff of legend. It’s a great beer. And the hype it generates continues to amaze. Much of that has to do with supply (very little) and demand (huge/global). The triple IPA is available for only two weeks every February and it is strictly rationed —no growler fills, no more than a couple of glasses per visit, that kind of thing.

This year, area business types started to wonder if there is a ripple effect, and the Sonoma County Economic Development Board added up the money. The total economic impact is $4.88 million for folks outside Sonoma County visiting the brewery looking for Pliny the Younger. Of the 16,000 Pliny visitors, 61 percent traveled specifically for the beer. They spent on average $73 at Russian River Brewing and 41 percent of them stayed at area lodging, spending an average of $167.

For more on the numbers, click here.

Blair Anthony Robertson: 916-321-1099, @Blarob