Behold the power of Pliny the Younger – this year’s economic impact numbers


Is Pliny the Younger the most valuable beer in the world? It’s certainly the most valuable beer in Sonoma County, California.

Not long ago I posted an op-ed piece about the Pokemonification of craft beer and how it would behoove craft breweries to accept a certain kind of non-threatening, newfangled, app-based beer-drinking behavior as the new norm for a growing number of their customers. (Potential customers, I should say.) Case in point, Russian River Brewing’s Pliny the Younger, the most coveted of all beer whales. Many of today’s younger beer enthusiast may see PTY as their grandfather’s beer, so I’m not exactly sure how this all fits together. Whatever the case, “The Younger” still reigns as the Moby Dick of craft beer, as evidenced by the $4.1 million economic impact this year’s release event had on Sonoma County’s economy. Maybe the fact that Grandfather can afford to hunt whales is what drives these remarkable numbers.

A report by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board shows the economic impact of the annual Pliny the Younger release event, which takes place over the course of two weeks at Russian River Brewing’s two locations in Sonoma County, California. One thing is certain, Pliny the Younger is so coveted that people are willing to travel great distances and spend thousands of dollars just to get their three daily glasses of the stuff.


  • The economic impact was measured at nearly $4.2 million over the course of two weeks.
  • This year’s number of $4.16 million is up from last year’s number of $3.36 million.
  • Visitors came from 42 states and 14 countries.
  • On average, each person spent $59.38 when visiting Russian River Brewing’s two brewpubs.
  • There was an average of 3.02 people in each party.
  • On average, each visitor stayed 1.8 nights.
  • Average nightly hotel cost was $290.
  • An estimated 24,700 people visited Russian River’s two brewpubs during the two-week period.

The economic impact study was based on nearly 2,400 surveys collected from visitors during the release event, a sampling of the estimated 24,700 people that visited Russian River’s pubs during the two-week release period (February 1 thru 14).

Around here, in Washington, we are largely over the Pliny hysteria. At least, I’m over it. Russian River Brewing stopped distributing beer here a few years ago and somehow we all survived. While there’s no denying that Pliny the Younger, or Pliny the Elder for that matter, is a damn good beer, it is hard to imagine dipping into my retirement fund just to get three glasses of the stuff. However, if checking into Pliny the Younger on UnTappd is worth it to you, who am I to judge? I am a man with no shortage of unreasonable passions.

I hope people who visited Russian River Brewing because of Pliny the Younger took the time to sample some of the brewery’s other amazing beers. For my money, they do a lot of things as well as, or better than, PTY.

The infographic below reveals some startling numbers. Behold the power of Pliny!



One comment

  1. Kendall,
    I am not immune to the concept of a beer pilgrimage. In fact, as a prelude to any trip I take, I check the beerverse for possible beer related adventures that may be within striking distance of my destination

    However, I share your incredulity at the prospect of tapping the household treasury for three glasses of pretty damn good beer. It appears to be in the nature of a lemming type ‘let’s all jump over the cliff together’ phenomena.

    I wonder how many of the PTY acolytes will take the trouble to travel to Ballard this weekend for the Ruben’s event which, frankly, sounds more noteworthy than the PTY sip fest.

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