'Pliny the Younger' beer buzz expected to have large economic impact on Sonoma County

The 14th annual release of world-famous Pliny the Younger brought beer lovers out early in Santa Rosa Friday morning to get a taste of the treasured triple IPA. The prominent craft beer is poised to boost tourism in an area impacted by last year’s October wildfires.

The buzz for the special brew brought well over a hundred people out to form a line in front of Russian River Brewery Company. Some even started showing up Thursday. Beer lovers from around the world make the annual pilgrimage for Pliny, which is brewed just once a year. 

“Pliny the Younger rose to fame back in 2010 when beer aficionados starting giving it high marks,” said Vinnie Cilurzo, Owner of Russian River Brewery Company. “The annual debut of Pliny the Younger always gives a boost to the local economy here in Sonoma County -- and that's something they could certainly use here right now after the devastating fires here back in October.”  

Two years ago the economic impact of Pliny the Younger was just under $5 million for the two-week period, according to Russian River Brewery Company.  

First in line was Lindsey Waddell, who lost his Santa Rosa home in the destructive blaze. And in the midst of a rebuild, he decided he needed a beer break.

“The fire happened but we’re a strong community,” said Waddel. “This is a special treat.”

The area is California’s wine country and it heavily depends of visitors, both local and from around the world, to support the economy, “There’s been an economic hit to the area,” said Cilurzo. “We're helping all the neighboring restaurants, wineries and breweries.”

The brew of limited supply will be available at Russian River Brewery Company for the next two weeks and it will also be served at a handful of Bay Area bars and restaurants. In order to keep things moving, the owners are limiting customers to either three 10 ounce pours of Pliny the Younger or three hours inside the brewery.