Ales and trails: New Capital Area Craft Trail brings local breweries, distilleries and drinkers together

The Capital Area is home to many small breweries and distilleries that provide locally made spirits, ales, beers and more. Recently, nine of these boozy businesses came together to bring in more customers and to build relationships within the brewery and distillery world. And the local craft enthusiasts responded. 

Known the Capital Area Craft Trail, the scavenger hunt-like collaboration was spearheaded by Ron Dunham, owner of Le Chien Brewing Company in Denham Springs. The trail encourages customers to stop at Le Chien along with eight other destinations in Baton Rouge, Gonzales and Saint Gabriel.

Those up for the challenge, can pick up a free passport at any of the participating breweries or print out a passport from the Capital Area Craft Trail’s website. One drink purchase will get you a stamp on your passport, and stamps do not have to be collected in any order. The promotion is set to end on Saturday, Dec. 31. The first 250 drinkers to visit all nine destinations were awarded a custom tin tacker designed by Rally Cap Brewing Company’s Kyle McCartney, which incorporates all nine logos and Louisiana icons, like the magnolia flower and stained glass windows from the Old State Capitol.

Dunham says the trail was started to help breweries and distilleries in the area. 

“It’s something that had kind of been on my mind since last year, ” Dunham says. “I was first thinking, ‘What can we do collectively as a group of breweries to do something that gets people to the different breweries?’ The people of St. Gabriel don’t always venture over to Denham Springs, where I’m at, and the people of Denham Springs don’t venture over to Gonzalez or Saint Gabriel very often.”

After the breweries were on board, Dunham then reached out to two distilleries to complete the trail with a total of nine stops: Tin Roof Brewing Company, Oxbow Rum Distillery, Istrouma Brewing, Agile Brewing, Gilla Brewing Company, Rally Cap Brewing Company, Cypress Coast Brewing Company, Laissez Versez Distillery and Le Chien Brewing Company. Dunham even plans to add Sugarfield Spirits and Grain Creations Brewing Company to the future lineups.

Mandy Underwood, marketing and events coordinator at Tin Roof Brewing Company, says the trail is a great way to bond the communities of Baton Rouge and its surrounding cities. She says she has seen enthusiasm around the promotion started in August.

“We saw the excitement about it almost immediately,” Underwood says. “We got the tin tackers and the passports and had people coming in that weekend before I even had the chance to take a picture of it and put it up on social media.”

Courtesy Le Chien Brewing Company

All 250 tin tackers have been collected so far, which means many people have completed the trail. Others can still participate by collecting stamps and completing their passport. John Hampton, owner of Laissez Versez Distillery on Airline Highway, calls the trail a “resounding success.”

“We intentionally wanted to make it something that was limited,” he says. “Next year, we’re going to add more tin tackers to it. We knew the trail was going to be successful, but we didn’t know how successful.” 

Dunham says the trail will continue as an annual event. Each year will have an updated tin tacker with a different Louisiana symbol in the center so people can start tin tacker collections with this new tradition.