Happy to see you, 2021!

Simply put, there is no industry happier than hospitality to see the door slam hard on 2020. It was a year full of challenges, uncertainty and turmoil. However, with a vaccine at our doorstep and the continued growth of consumer confidence in 2021 travel, we are optimistic the corner will be turned! Even through this difficult year, we have been working on promising initiatives, ones that will bring economic development, destination awareness and arts and cultural support to Gwinnett. 

Just a few years ago, craft beer aficionados were forced to head out of the county to explore the craft beer and brewery scene. Fast forward, there are popular, expanding and creative breweries and distilleries popping up all over Gwinnett. By our most recent count, we have ten breweries, with three more on the way, plus a winery and a distillery. So, what’s next for beer? 

2021 will bring the inaugural Gwinnett Beer Tour (aka “Sipping in the Suburbs”) to Gwinnett. Explore Gwinnett will partner with well-known ITP beer tour company, Southern Beer Tours to bring the tour experience to Gwinnett. Paramount to our success, the tours will incorporate health and safety protocols for all attendees. The tour will include three breweries and a ‘behind the scenes’ tour for all attendees. Plans also call for a monthly walking tour, with a focus on downtown Lawrenceville’s burgeoning craft beer scene. All the details will be live on southernbeertours.com, starting in the first quarter of 2021. 

While corporate and business travel took a substantial hit in 2020, one travel market where we continue to see growth and sustainability is the wedding and social market. Explore Gwinnett’s wedding market specialist continued a busy year of marketing and promoting Gwinnett’s myriad of venues for smaller weddings and receptions. Selecting the right venue, balancing a budget and juggling the details – all are made exponentially easier by our new, comprehensive Explore Gwinnett Venues Guide. Whether you are a DIY budget bride searching for a facility large enough for an ethnic wedding, or looking for a venue that will do all the heavy lifting for you – you can find exactly what you’re looking for by visiting www.exploregwinnett.org

2020 was also memorable for being the year we kicked off Gwinnett County’s first-ever arts and cultural grant program, the Gwinnett Creativity Fund (GCF)! Through this fund, designed to support Gwinnett’s nonprofit arts organizations navigate the challenging economy through operations grants, as well as a second project grant component, we were able to give almost $160,000 in grants in 2020. From small music groups with annual budgets of $6,000 to the bustling arts powerhouse that is the Aurora Theatre, the GCF was able to help groups large and small stay afloat this year. In 2021, our first round of grants will start at the end of January. Visit gwinnettcreativityfund.com for more details.