January 21, 2018
Ale trail
The Wine & Ale Trail
Ale trail
Gary Roberts (center) and his family — stepson Allen Cooley, wife Susan and son Bud — operate Summer Crush Vineyard & Winery near Fort Pierce, a stop on the Wine & Ale Trail.

Southeast Florida Roundup

Florida's Treasure Coast blazes a spirit, wine and ales trail

Breweries, wineries and distilleries line a Treasure Coast trek.

Mike Vogel | 11/28/2017

Neddy, "The Swimmer" in the John Cheever short story, crosses a suburban New York county by swimming from estate pool to pool, drinking booze as he goes. Now, with the advent of craft distilleries, wineries and breweries, you can drink your way across the Treasure Coast, the Southeast — and indeed circumnavigate Florida on “trails” of spirits, wine and ales.

The Treasure Coast blazed its “Wine & Ale Trail” this year after Gary Roberts, owner of Summer Crush Vineyard & Winery near Fort Pierce, approached county tourism agencies in St. Lucie, Indian River and Martin counties with the idea.

The agencies collaborated in marketing the trail to leverage their ad budgets and offer a wider experience. The trail initially included seven businesses.

The trail’s southern terminus is in St. Lucie County. Martin has no participating breweries or wineries. Farther south, Palm Beach has no alcohol-themed trail. (Palm Beach promotes four food tours, a “selfie” spot tour, a Brew Bus and winery.) Once in Broward, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Ale Trail kicks in.

Trails are marketed from Fernandina Beach south to Key West — the Passport to Explore A1A: Wine & Spirits Tour — and up the Gulf Coast. Roberts says the Treasure Coast effort is unusual in having a wine component to its trail; many in Florida are dedicated to spirits and beer.

It’s working, Roberts says. “The trail has brought more business. We keep running out of trail maps.”

Tags: Southeast

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