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A new pocket guide tours you through local booze-makers

"It's great for libation tourism."

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It's the perfect time of year to gather some friends and hit the trails. Sure, you could lace up your hiking boots and tread a nature trail ... or you could celebrate Pittsburgh booze-producers by following the new Allegheny Libation Trail.

Thirteen distilleries, wineries and breweries near the Allegheny River are featured in a handy pocket guide that was the brainchild of Arsenal Cider House's Bill Larkin. The establishments include: Arsenal Cider House; Church Brew Works; Draai Laag Brewing Company; East End Brewing (Pittsburgh Public Market stall); Grist House Brewing; Hop Farm Brewing; Maggie's Farm Rum; Milkman Brewing; Penn Brewery; Pittsburgh Winery; R Wine Cellar; Roundabout Brewery; and Wigle Whiskey.

"It seemed like a no-brainer that we should do something like this," says Maggie's Farm Rum Distillery owner Tim Russell.

The group's cooperative spirit suggests that the craft fermentation and distillation businesses in Pittsburgh are on confident footing. That's especially exciting considering that most of these businesses are less than 5 years old.

"It strengthens the market as a whole. We're all getting some exposure. People are visiting a lot of us in the same day," says Matt Gouwens, owner of Hop Farm Brewing Company.

Russell says that people are planning a day out based on the guide. He says that most distillery visitors are local to either the city or the region. "It's nice to see so many people from around here organizing their day around this," he says.

For his part, Gouwens says he's seeing out-of-towners who seek out some of the city's finest brews and spirits. "People will come into one of our places because they've heard of our business and then they learn about all these other manufacturers," he says, adding, "It's great for libation tourism."

Whether for locals or tourists, the new guide seems to be doing the trick. "I have a stack of guides on the bar and I restock it every couple of days," says Russell.

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