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Fall Sip & Shop Packs Downtown Businesses

The Second Sip & Shop of the year brought new faces, vendors to Downtown Rutland

Over 270 people visited Downtown Rutland on Thursday, October 3rd for the Fall Sip & Shop. The event featured 17 locally owned businesses hosting tastings of 19 Vermont brands over the span of three hours. Attendees sampled craft beverages such as rye whiskey, gin, cider, beer, mead, vodka and hard kombucha while tasting cheese, gelato, sriracha, bison jerky, chocolate, chai and maple syrup. In addition to browsing the retail shops while sampling, there was also art available from local artisans, Wander on Words and Basin Reclaimed.

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The event, organized by the Downtown Rutland Partnership, grew from 13 stops at the inaugural event in April, to 17 stops this fall. “We had a wonderful time seeing new and returning faces to the district,” said Nikki Hindman, Marketing and Events Coordinator at the DRP. “Sip and Shops are an exciting opportunity to showcase downtown’s incredible brick and mortar businesses to new audiences while giving the community an experience to shop outside of normal retail hours.”

New vendor Liambru Tasty, a micro brewery from Proctor, hosted their first ever tasting at Star Barbershop and debuted two new beers to eager visitors. Co-owner Amy Ridlon remarked that they had a great experience getting to know the Rutland community, visiting with old friends and making new friends with the business owners at their stop.

Tom Hubbard, owner of Mountain View Bison, stated that the event was “spectacular,” and noted he had lots of fun while meeting nice, interesting people at Grow Vermont.

Jenna and Jacob Baird of Baird Farm Maple Syrup returned to downtown after a positive experience at the Spring Sip and Shop. This time they collaborated with new vendor, Silo Distillery, at Alison McCullough Real Estate, offering a craft cocktail called “The Wild Side” and offering a giveaway for a free gallon of maple syrup. Their stop was extremely popular as folks piled in to sample their mint-infused maple syrup.

Visitors enjoyed the opportunity to explore Downtown Rutland businesses while shopping and sampling. In a post event survey, many attendees reported visiting a business for the first time and that afterwards, they stayed downtown to grab dinner, a drink, or see Wynonna and the Big Noise at The Paramount Theater.

When asked if the Fall Sip + Shop motivated them to visit downtown Rutland again, one anonymous attendee stated that the event made them fall in love with downtown Rutland again and mentioned that the host locations were very welcoming and that the vendors were knowledgeable and generous with their products. Two-thirds of survey respondents reported making purchases at businesses and many plan to visit Rutland more often to shop in the future.

“People love this event because it’s a fun evening out in downtown; it’s something different and something to do,” said Steve Peters, Executive Director of the Downtown Rutland Partnership. “We love it because it gets folks in businesses. Sometimes people need a little nudge to remind them that our small businesses are here, are diverse and that they have much to offer. I think that’s exactly what this event helps to achieve.”

The Fall Sip & Shop was made possible thanks to the support of Heritage Family Credit Union, Price Chopper Supermarkets, Farrell Distributing, VPR, VELCO and Stewart’s Shops.