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A virtual passport program was launched last week that will showcase the 200 craft breweries closely surrounding the Empire State Trail, in partnership with the New York State Brewers Association. A comprehensive new website providing Empire State Trail users with quick and easy access to trail information along the 750-mile route is now available. The Empire State Trail Brewery Passport, made available through the NYSBA's existing New York Craft Beer App, will encourage New Yorkers to visit breweries within 10 miles of the Empire State Trail along the 750-mile route that spans the state.

"During this unprecedented and challenging time, this new partnership will make it even easier for New Yorkers to experience both this great state's natural beauty and world-class craft beverages," Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said. "Tourism and recreation are at the foundation of our local economies, and as we near the completion of the Empire State Trail by the end of this year, this program will both benefit local residents and spur economic activity in communities across the state."

At each brewery along the Trail, visitors can digitally check-in on the app, earning a stamp on both of the app's passport programs - the Think NY, Drink NY Passport and now the Empire State Trail Brewery Passport. By visiting New York State breweries and checking in on the app, visitors earn points that can be used to earn rewards. Individuals with previous stamps from those breweries on the Think NY, Drink NY Passport, are encouraged to revisit and earn stamps for new rewards. Passport participants are encouraged to drink responsibly.

Exclusive rewards are awarded at levels determined by the number of stamps received on the Empire State Trail Brewery Passport, from neck gaiters, to shirts, to backpacks and more. By checking-in at 200 breweries and completing the Empire State Trail Brewery Passport, visitors will receive a branded cooler backpack and a t-shirt stating, "I completed the Empire State Trail Brewery Passport."

New York State Brewers Association Executive Director Paul Leone, said, "The New York State Brewers Association is excited to partner with the Empire State Trail. Almost half of the State's craft breweries are within 10-miles from the Empire State Trail, making this the perfect initiative to shine a light on the Trail and the State's craft beer industry."

The New York Craft Beer App is the first state-wide beer app in the country and is available for both Apple and Android devices. The app gives craft beer enthusiasts access to a map containing every brewery across New York State, searchable by region, and includes directions to breweries and allows users to build and save a personal tour of selected breweries. Additional information about the app is available here.

The new Empire State Trail website provides quick and easy access to trail information along the 750-mile route including segment descriptions (paved and stone dust off-road trails, on-road sections, etc.), access points, trail distances, parking areas, restrooms, and nearby amenities and attractions. The website's responsive design is user-friendly for desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile devices and includes interactive maps that allow users to zoom in to their specific location of interest and the ability to download and print maps of trail segments. Cyclists are able to print "cue sheets" with highly detailed directions for following a selected trail segment. The site also features information about the variety of activities and destinations on or near the trail such as campgrounds, parks, historic sites, and popular stops among the local communities.

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