VISIT Milwaukee will unveil "The Original Brew City Beer Map," which it created in collaboration with the Milwaukee Craft Brewers League, Lakefront Brewery, Pabst Brewery and Malteurop Malt Company, at a free event Thursday at 5 p.m. at Lakefront Brewery, 1872 N. Commerce St.
The map includes 62 breweries, beer gardens, beer tour companies and beer-related history sites throughout southeastern Wisconsin, including in Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Franklin, Oak Creek, West Allis, Waukesha and beyond.
More than a half-million printed maps will be distributed across the country, as well as locally at hotels, restaurants, breweries, tourist sites and other locations. Printed copies can be ordered online at visitmilwaukee.org/brewcity, and a digital version of the map will be available at theoriginalbrewcity.com.
"Beer tourism is a huge reason why people come to our area," said Megan Suardini, VP of Marketing & Communications for VISIT Milwaukee. "It was important to be as inclusive as possible with breweries, beer gardens and historic sites because we want people to experience all of our regional beer culture.
"One of the best things about our breweries is that they encourage visitors to experience local neighborhoods outside of Downtown, which has a huge ripple effect in the community in terms of business, jobs and additional developments."
Travel and tourism research firm Longwoods International reported that breweries were among the top five activities engaged in by travelers on overnight visits to Milwaukee.
For day trips and overnights combined, VISIT Milwaukee noted, breweries are ranked as top reason to visit the region. Approximately 11 percent of total overnight trips are due to beer tourism, compared to national average at 5 percent.
"This is a resource for locals and visitors, because Milwaukee is home to not only a booming craft brewing scene, but also the history of beer in America," added Suardini.
"This comprehensive beer attractions map includes real Milwaukee beer experiences from drinking to tours, and was championed by both our sponsors and VISIT Milwaukee to highlight the density and richness of beer culture throughout our community."
There will be more than 12 local brews on tap, as well as other area beers in cans available tonight at the unveiling event, which is also a Milwaukee Craft Brewers League Tap Takeover. Admission is free and open to the public.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.