The Alabama Tourism Department’s focus on barbecue last year has been honored by the National Council of State Tourism Directors. 

Alabama was honored with the Mercury Award for the best targeted marketing promotion in the nation for their "Year of Alabama Barbecue" promotion.

The awarded campaign promoted the state’s barbecue heritage, award-winning restaurants and talented pit masters. The "Year of Alabama Barbecue" also included a website, smart phone app, social media promotions, a touring photo exhibit of legendary pit masters, a documentary about the state’s barbecue culture, a 128-page hardcover book, and the creation of the Alabama Barbecue Hall of Fame.

Alabama State Tourism Director Lee Sentell said,

After doing a social media survey of barbecue fans from across the state, we selected more than 75 restaurants in 52 cities to highlight for this campaign. It generated a great deal of pride and traffic within the state’s barbecue community.

This is the 5th time in the last decade the Alabama Tourism Department has won the top honor having previously been awarded for the “Year of Alabama Food,” “Year of Alabama Arts,” “Year of Alabama Small Towns and Downtowns,” and "Year of Alabama Music.”