Yes, Really: Pliny the Younger Beer Brought $4.16M to Sonoma

A Russian River Brewing Company customer takes takes a picture of his freshly poured glass of the newly released Pliny the Younger triple IPA beer on February 7, 2014 in Santa Rosa, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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It was another hugely successful year for Pliny the Younger fans and its brewing company, Russian River Brewing (RRBC), but Sonoma County also benefited from this beloved beer.

According to to the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, this year's limited release of Pliny the Younger alone raised a cool $4.16 million for the county from tourists who visited specifically to get their three glasses of Pliny the Younger. For reference, last year's release generated $3.36 million.

The beer's close relation, Pliny the Elder (his uncle, to be exact), is available year-round — bottled or on tap, but the Younger is only available for two weeks, making it a coveted beer both tourists and locals are willing to wait for.

This year, Russian River Brewing served Pliny the Younger in both their Santa Rosa taproom and the new Windsor space that had just opened last fall — an addition with a bigger space to seat 200 people at a time. Such is the pull of Pliny the Younger, co-founder and co-owner Natalie Cilurzo told SFGATE the new space was dreamed up with the release in mind!

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And how did it all go down? Santa Rosa's supply was the first to be depleted near 2pm on February 17:

Not long after, Windsor followed suit around 6pm, ending another lucrative year for Sonoma County and the RRBC.

Looking at the Sonoma County Economic Development Board's infographic from the beginning of this article, 73% of total visitors to Sonoma County came specifically to try that famous beer, coming from as far as Thailand and New Zealand for a taste.

Thanks to Pliny the Younger's popularity, local businesses also benefited from the increase in tourism traffic. Despite the rain and long lines, attendees found the triple IPA worth the wait since 96% of attendees said they would come back again.

For fans who couldn't make it to Sonoma County, RRBC distributes Younger on draft the week after it is released in pubs, but they also sent a few kegs to the CA Central Coast for the first time this year. Lucky beer fans in Philadelphia also got some (if they moved quick enough).

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With another year down, and now millions of dollars to cement Pliny the Younger's success as a top release, many beer lovers will no doubt be starting the countdown for next year's offering. While you wait, try one of the other 700+ craft breweries in operation around California with this guide spotlighting some Bay Area hot spots.

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