Beer me: the new fuel for America’s downtrodden commercial districts

The breweries' "economic ripple effects" are being felt by retailers and property owners alike

(Credit: emdot/Flickr)
(Credit: emdot/Flickr)

It might sound surreal, but beer really could save America — at least in terms of commercial real estate.

There was a record-breaking number of small craft breweries operating throughout the country for the second year in a row in 2016; the record, which was originally set in 1873, of 4,131 breweries was beat in 2015, according the New York Times. Together, the breweries contributed a total of $68 billion to the American economy in 2016 alone — talk about beer money.

With every new brewery comes a series of tax breaks for the new operator, vendor contracts — especially with food trucks or local eateries — and property values begin to rise as other business move in to scoop up the beer-fueled tourist dollars suddenly pouring in.

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“When we moved here, you could see old scars of bad times,” said Ricardo Petroni, the co-owner of a two-year-old brewery in Middletown, New York, to the Times, “but you can tell that now, new things are flourishing.”

“The economic ripple effects are definitely there,” JLL’s David Barnett told the Times. He noted in a report he authored last year called “The Craft Beer Guidebook to Real Estate,” that craft beer’s production doubled between 2011 and 2016 in 36 states.

“It’s hard to ignore an industry that has grown this much,” he said. [NYT]Erin Hudson