Study: Craft beer is saving small town economies

Beer is boosting economies
Posted at 4:37 AM, Jun 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-09 06:32:32-04

Craft beer is saving small town economies - that's according to the Beer Institute's Beer science America study.

Preparing, packing, and serving beer in America is a $350 billion industry.

In Florida, it pays more than $2.6 billion in wages and benefits and pours more than $7.2 billion into the state economy.

"They're obviously booming, we found about 1/3 of all micro-breweries in the state are actually in Tampa Bay," said Alicia Parinello, with Forward Pinellas, a group that just wrapped up its own micro-brewery study.

It found cities that are more inclined to work with potential brewers on regulations, incentives and land use, were more likely to bottle a brewery.

Many cities in the Tampa Bay area are tapping into the trend and it's hard to miss the nearly 50 breweries in our area alone.

"Five or six years ago there was probably only like five or six, so it really has grown," said Steven Duffy, the COO of Green bench Brewing Company in St. Petersburg.

Duffy knows the industry well - and says because many micro-breweries aren't too competitive, its easy to thrive and helps bring people back to the city center. He says that can help lagging economies bounce back.

"A lot of people think that a good food culture is what drives these smaller niche cities or suburban areas," said Duffy. "I think people are now starting to see that beer is also that same way."

Forward Pinellas says micro-breweries tend to gravitate towards older buildings with commercial and industrial use combined - but can cause zoning issues. But by helping a brewery move in - the group says can take an older vacant building an give it new life. Click here for a list of ways cities can better entice breweries to set up shop.