A frosty mug of economic development

Source: homewetbar.com

Source: homewetbar.com

I don’t know about the rest of you, but from what I have observed over the past few years, beer has become an excellent economic development tool regardless of region. In the past year or so, I have observed packed brewpubs, craft breweries, and beer bars in locations like:

  • Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Carmel, Indiana
  • Lansing, Michigan
  • East Lansing, Michigan
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Newport, Rhode Island
  • Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania
  • Eureka, California
  • Nevada City, California
  • Ashland, Oregon
  • Gardner, Massachusetts
  • Westminster, Massachusetts
  • Brookline, Massachusetts

My thoroughly unscientific surveys have found that brewpubs tend to be vibrant and active throughout most of the day, whether it’s the noon hour, mid-afternoon, dinner, or well into the evening, especially when they have an innovative and fun menu selection to compliment the lagers and ales. The brewpub’s business will often translate into a hearty increase in foot traffic on the adjoining sidewalks, as well as more customers for nearby shops, stores, venues, and restaurants.

Meanwhile, craft breweries regularly draw tourists and shoppers who are eager to witness the brewing process and enjoy a taste of the local froth. Their clientele spills over to nearby businesses, including restaurants, shops, gas stations, and lodging.

Standing Stone Brewery

Standing Stone Brewery

One of my favorite aspects of beer-based economic development is how many of the craft brewers and brewpubs lovingly restore and renovate historic buildings in the community for their location. In Ashland, Oregon, Standing Stone Brewery is located in a 1920s era automobile repair garage while in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Brewery Vivant deftly occupies a former mortuary and chapel. Many brewpub sites are unique unto themselves and provide the visitor with a novel experience.

Brewery Vivant

Brewery Vivant

The craft beer industry is definitely on a growth curve in the United States. Here is a handy weblink to data on the industry. As of 2011, there were 1,940 craft breweries operating. For cities and towns across the country, hopping a ride on the ole beer wagon might just a tasty recipe to consider for what “ales” their local economy.

This entry was posted in adaptive reuse, architecture, cities, commerce, consumerism, Cuisine, culture, downtown, economic development, economic gardening, entertainment, entrepreneurship, Food, fun, historic preservation, history, infrastructure, land use, new urbanism, placemaking, planning, product design, revitalization, spatial design, third places, tourism, Trade, Travel, urban planning and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to A frosty mug of economic development

  1. basil berchekas jr says:

    will stay with this one!


  2. Erik says:

    You didn’t per chance attend this webinar did you?


    I passed it along to our EDC since I’m not one them “paid professionals” but have a feeling that it can be summarized in “I like beer, others like beer, and we all like to do things regarding that consumption part of it.”


  3. Andrea D says:

    Yes! I have been noticing this for the last few years among Main Street historic commercial districts around the US. North Park Main Street in San Diego has a huge microbrewery pub niche and Frederick, Md., has one right on the main drag in the downtown and it has been a big contributor to the arts and entertainment niche happening there. I think in large part this has to do with the local foods and artisan food movement. Valentine Vodka, too, popped up in an adaptive reuse building in downtown Ferndale, Mich. – all very exciting stuff!


  4. Hi! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 4! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the fantastic work!


  5. Hi there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same subjects? Thanks!


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