Top celebration destinations in the U.S. include Las Vegas, Nashville, and … the Laurel Highlands?

That’s the way Dan and Tamara DiBartola of Greensburg saw it when they contemplated what to do for their 25th wedding anniversary, which is on Valentine’s Day.

Rather than spend big bucks on a getaway, they opted for a series of small trips as part of the Laurel Highlands Pour Tour 3.0. They started in early January and became the first two participants to redeem their completed passports – with 45 stickers! – on Feb. 11 at GO Laurel Highlands’ office at 113 E. Main St. in Ligonier.

Their rewards for such dedication to each other and the Pour Tour?

Well, plenty of quality time together, quite a few favorite new craft beverage makers, and, of course, great Pour Tour swag. They each received a Pour Tour T-shirt, growler, and portable beverage table. By completing the Pour Tour, they’re also entered in a drawing for the grand prize – a weekend getaway in the Laurel Highlands.

Dan and Tamara DiBartola of Greensburg were the first two participants to redeem their completed Pour Tour 3.0 passports.

An awesome anniversary idea

The notion of taking time off of work to visit breweries, wineries, distilleries, cideries, and meaderies throughout Fayette, Somerset, and Westmoreland countiePick up a Pour Tour 3.0 passport at partner locations or at GO Laurel Highlands' office in Ligonier.s was Dan’s. So, what was Tamara’s reaction?

“I thought that was great,” she said. “It’s a way that we’ll always remember our 25th wedding anniversary. We’ll have these prizes. They last longer than when you take a trip.”

The Tier 3 prize of a portable beverage table was a major draw for the DiBartolas.

“When we were dating, we had this little portable table with an American flag on it,” Dan said. “We’ve been using it ever since. It’s falling apart.”

Now, they’ll have one for each of the places that they like to have drinks at their Greensburg home – their garage and their basement, or as they call it, the BARsement.

The couple got married in Jamaica 25 years ago. As Dan says, “We got married away and celebrated at home.” Fittingly, their final stop on the Pour Tour was Chapel Hill Wines in Dawson. Tamara said that employees and patrons cheered them on when they found out the special reason for their visit.

The winding roads to completion

Pour Tour 3.0 mapSo how did they manage to hit 45 craft beverage makers in a month? A little time off of work, quite a few miles traversing the Laurel Highlands, and a whole lot of forethought.

Dan’s favorite beverage is beer, so he devised routes that included visits to up to three breweries spread over several hours – having only one beer at each. When a distillery or winery was on the route or close to it, they’d include that. Dan wouldn’t drink anything at such establishments, but Tamara would get a sample and he’d purchase a bottle in order to get a sticker.

“We planned all of these loops for the Pour Tour. It was pretty exhausting, actually. It sounded pretty cool at the beginning. I’m the only guy that can turn drinking into a job,” Dan said with a laugh.

(Note: GO Laurel Highlands recommends that Pour Tour participants use a designated driver or ride-share program. Always drink responsibly)

Now that their Pour Tour passports have been redeemed, Dan and Tamara plan to return to some of the favorite spots that they’ve found as part of the program. Here’s a look at some of their favorites:​

  • Conny Creek Brewing Co., Lower Burrell
  • Forbes Trail Brewing, Stoystown
  • Helltown Brewing, Mount Pleasant
  • Trailhead Brewing Co., Rockwood
  • Yough River Brewing Co., Connellsville

“We found some really good beers, we found some really cool places, we met a lot of cool people,” he said. “It’s good for business. It’s bringing a lot of people into the area. It’s a fantastic idea.”

Perhaps the greatest compliment that Dan paid to the Pour Tour was the sentiment he expressed as he left GO Laurel Highlands with his beverage table, growler, and T-shirt in hand.

“We’ll be back next year!”