Monday, May 25, 2009

What Would Disney Do?

We are t-minus four days and counting until our family excursion to Walt Disney World begins, and it got me to thinking that the last time I was there (just under a decade ago) the craft beer options were few and far between (I particularly remember Dixie Blackened Voodoo being offered at a few establishments, but that's about it), and understandably so to an extent. It is after all a family vacation destination first and foremost and there are many more important things for the Disney folks to focus on ahead of craft beer.

As I understand it, craft beer availability on Disney property has not changed much in the past ten years, so it got me to thinking: if each Disney-owned resort on site (the Hilton, Swan, Dolphin, for instance, don't count) had one American brewery paired with it by offering their beers as a compliment to that resort's theme, which brewery might match up well with each resort? I came up with what I think is a pretty decent list, but was completely lacking in ideas for a few of the resorts as you'll see below.

Contemporary Resort - Something California based: Sierra Nevada, North Coast, Stone, Anchor, Bear Republic, etc.

Polynesian Resort - The obvious choice here (although the mainland beer is brewed in either Oregon or New Hampshire) would be Kona Brewing Company.

Grand Floridian Resort & Spa - Keep it local with Saint Somewhere or Cigar City Brewing.

Wilderness Lodge - Offerings from a brewery like Alaskan Brewing or Big Sky Brewing Company out of Montana would be spot on here.

Animal Kingdom Lodge - Sprecher Brewing Company. Why a Wisconsin based brewery for an African Safari themed hotel, you ask? Because they brew two African style beers: Mbege and Shakparo.

Yacht Club Resort - Keep the New England vibe rolling with Cisco Brewers.

Beach Club Resort - New England is represented here as well, but it's a bit more laid back at the Beach Club. I'd go with something like the Harpoon Brewery or Buzzards Bay Brewing.

BoardWalk Inn - The early 20th century mid-Atlantic resort theme calls for something like Flying Fish Brewing out of New Jersey or Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales from Delaware.

All-Star Sports Resort - The only all sports themed brewery I could come up with (and it's a pretty good one, at that) was Cooperstown Brewing Company.

Coronado Springs Resort - Santa Fe Brewing Company: A nice little Southwestern brewery to compliment the southwestern theme.

Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa - Let the Saranac beers from the Matt Brewing Company take you back to upstate New York.

Old Key West Resort - Dunedin Brewing Company could work well here, along with the two previously mentioned Florida breweries I tabbed for the Grand Floridian above.

Port Orleans Resort French Quarter - If it's the French Quarter, then it's gotta be Dixie Brewing or the new-ish New Orleans Lager and Ale (NOLA) Brewing Company.

Port Orleans Resort Riverside - Louisiana's biggest brewery, Abita Brewing Company, belongs here for sure.

That leaves these resorts as the last ones standing, as I've got virtually nothing for them so far:

All-Star Music Resort
All-Star Movies Resort
Pop Century Resort
Caribbean Beach Resort

Caribbean Beach is tough because, well, it's theme reaches beyond the United States...although beers from St. John Brewers could work here, as they are brewed under agreement by Maine's Shipyard Brewing Company.

I'm truly lost on the other three, and can't even think of a starting point for them.

I think just about any business, particularly a small craft brewery, would jump at the chance for some exposure from Walt Disney World. Hopefully it is something that they might consider down the road as they run through their lists of minor detail improvements on property.