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New Santa Rosa marketing campaign highlights city's cycling, culture, beer

  • Patrick Siegrist, visiting from Minnesota, enjoys a beer on the patio of the Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. (Christopher Chung / The Press Democrat)

Santa Rosa may be in the heart of Wine Country, but it is often bypassed by visitors seeking to savor the region's wines and explore its quaint small towns.

So a new city-funded marketing campaign hopes to embrace what makes Santa Rosa's people and culture different from that of its rural neighbors.

Like its world-class beer.

Like its unbeatable bicycling.

And like its rail-riding hipsters.

All three are featured in new 15-second ads that began running this month in three of the cities to which Alaska Airlines flies from Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport — Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles.

The goal is to reach out to potential visitors in those cities who are aged 25 to 44 and “independent thinkers who enjoy finding new or undiscovered experiences or venues,” explained Raissa de la Rosa, Santa Rosa's economic development specialist.

“Because we are so different from the rest of Sonoma County ... we were really looking to differentiate ourselves from just being Wine Country,” de la Rosa said.

The first phase of the new campaign began running earlier this month in movie theaters in those cities and on Internet streaming music service Pandora. Other cities and media may be added later.

The three ads feature a series of still images around a theme, ending with the catch-phrase “Out there. In the middle of everything.”

One ad shows images of wine glasses, wooden barrels and bucolic vineyards followed by shots of the city's two downtown brew pubs, Third Street Ale Works and Russian River Brewing Company. It's called “Where Wine Country meets Beer City.”

While it may seem a stretch to call a city with two brew pubs “Beer City,” de la Rosa said there is no doubt that the Russian River Brewing Company, especially when it is featuring its limited release beers like the hyper-hoppy Pliny the Younger, draws tourists from around the globe.

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