Craft brews and microbreweries are the hottest trends in refreshments and are opening doors in cities and suburbs across America. There are nearly 3,500 small breweries in operation across the U.S., comprising brewpubs, microbreweries and regional craft breweries. These breweries are producing a more diverse, higher quality beer than the traditional mass produced lagers.
The demand is not slowing down with sales up 22 percent according to the Brewers Association. As brewers outgrow their basements and garages the next step is to tap into commercial real estate space.
Breweries Impact SC Economic Growth
Brewers move into new production spaces such as old factories and large abandoned spaces with high ceilings. Buildings with open floor plans provide a place to install brewing, fermenting and packaging equipment. Collier International recently examined the craft beer phenomenon in the top 29 markets across the country including the Charleston, Columbia and Greenville areas. Clearly, the industry is affecting SC economic growth.
The report found that there were three types of spaces utilized by the brewery industry:
- Brewpubs: typically located in a retail restaurant with a limited space available for manufacturing beer on-site;
- Microbreweries: usually located in a small single tenant industrial building or multi-tenant industrial site;
- Regional breweries: typically located in large warehouses for larger operations.
Craft breweries usually occupy industrial space, because of lower costs and access to heavy duty water and power utilities. Breweries are drawn to antiquated industrial buildings and repurpose the space for their use, which can help revitalize a local market. A brewery can bring new life to a vacant industrial building or retail shopping center and can help increase the demand for leases and properties. Breweries are popping up in some unexpected places, such as a former Wonder bread factory, a jail, a former horse stable, an elementary school, and a working hazelnut farm. Properties that are often overlooked by others offer a unique opportunity for craft brewers looking for commercial space.
Craft Brewing Industry Demand High in Several Markets
The industry isn’t only affecting SC economic growth, though. In all 20 markets surveyed, the consensus remains that consumers demand for craft beer and breweries remains strong and has picked up over the years. This held true in all types of markets, including urban, suburban and rural. Chicago IL is the country’s craft beer capital, followed by Philadelphia, PA, Portland, OR, San Francisco, CA, and Denver, CO. Charlotte, NC had the largest growth rate of 77 percent between 2013 and 2014, with Chicago, IL at 65.9 percent, Columbia, SC at 47.9 percent, and San Diego, CA at 45.9 percent.
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