In case you haven’t heard, craft beer in America is blowing up, but what you maybe didn’t know is that it’s helping revitalize urban neighborhoods in metropolitan cities. Citylab reports that the number of craft breweries in the country have grown from 27 to 4,225 between 1985 and 2015, with many of them helping the neighborhoods they call home.
The Professional Geographer conducted a study on this booming industry in 10 U.S. cities where brewing is engrained into the culture: Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis, Austin, New York and Charlotte, a city that was one of the most successful of the study’s sample. (Here are nine breweries in the North Carolina city we recommended back in 2015.) Research found that neighborhoods that were once brimming with warehouses and industrial businesses are now full of craft breweries.
The study found that brewers find proximity to other breweries beneficial to business, rather than harmful. Brewers sell excess ingredients to one another, train each other’s employees and even share equipment. The sheer number of breweries in these neighborhoods are also attractive to beer-loving tourists, which in turn funnels money into the de-industrialized area. The growth in breweries has also opened the door to other businesses like cafés and art galleries.
Sound like gentrification? Citylab reports that most microbreweries stick to areas where industrial businesses have left, meaning they’re not kicking anyone out of their homes. They also remind us that breweries used to act as meeting places for political movements. Whether or not that’s still true, we do know it’s a community banded together against big beer.