Aaron O’Callaghan is Sacramento native into travel, beer, curiosity, and conversations.
He has a background in environmental biology, freshwater systems, and mapping. Aaron is the creator of the Sacramento Beer Frontier – a unique passport program partnered with all 54 breweries in the Sacramento area.
There are several well-known aspects of beer tourism. The first tier is the craft brewery tour. From there the scope expands and the price to participate increases. This would include things like organized tours of several breweries where transportation is provided, like a brew bus or pedal cart. Next up is the comprehensive plan for visiting every brewery in the whole area or an ale-trail. Then finally we arrive at the Beer-cation where visiting a destination focuses on going to beer events and seeing breweries.
The Sacramento Beer Frontier is a guide that pushes the new craft drinker and seasoned veteran alike. The idea came about when Aaron was chatting with Trent Yackzan from Sudwerk Brewing about creating a map of all the breweries in Sacramento.
It looks just like a real passport, each page has 4 breweries, key information, and room for it to be stamped.
Once 4 stamps are collected, the passport holder gets a bottle opener designed especially for the Frontier passport. At 16 stamps, the passport holder receives a pint glass. When all 54 breweries have been visited, you contact Aaron and he gives you a poster version of the Sacramento Beer Map which showcases your journey.
Step By Step
Aaron wanted to make sure the Sacramento Beer Frontier was something all the breweries got behind. Getting every brewery on board was the biggest challenge. Aaron had to sell them on just an idea at first, and it was tough without the finished product. He learned there was no substitute for showing up in person with a handshake and establishing a relationship that showed he was the point person for the project – which is exactly what he did with all 54 of the breweries.
Exciting New Consumers
Aaron originally thought people that would venture into the Beer Frontier would already be craft enthusiasts. What he found out was that people who were most into it didn’t know much about beer from the start. This idea has been successful in getting people out and interested in the breweries, and adventuring around Sacramento to discover. With over 1,400 passports purchased so far in June of 2017, it seems the adventure won’t be stopping anytime soon.
Notable Quote from the Interview
“I think it’s helpful for the consumer, but it’s also helpful for taproom staff. It says this is someone new. It’s an opportunity to reach out and engage a new constituency. And I think it flags that and stresses the importance of making sure your taproom experience is not one that is intimidating.”
List of Passports and Ale Trails:
Sacramento Beer Frontier
Brew Ridge Trail
Central Florida Ale Trail
Treasure Coast Wine and Ale Trail
Southwest Florida Ale Trail
The Adirondack Craft Beverage Trail and Map
Heritage Corridor Ale Trail