Craft Breweries Boosting Local Economies

C.J. Hughes reported yesterday at The New York Times Online that, “As Equilibrium Brewery opened for business here [Middletown, N.Y.] on a recent Saturday morning, fans were already lined up outside for a fresh batch of its hazy-colored ales.

“The travelers, who came from Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, snapped up as many cans and bottles as they could buy, at $16 a four-pack. After a sip or two by tailgates, some headed out in search of a meal, their tourist dollars funneled into a downtown betting on a rebound.

“‘We are having an impact on the community, for sure,’ said Ricardo Petroni, a co-owner of Equilibrium, which opened in 2016 in a former meatpacking plant that had been seized over nonpayment of taxes. ‘When we moved here, you could see old scars of bad times,’ Mr. Petroni added, ‘but you can tell that now, new things are flourishing.'”

The Times article noted that, “Across the country, in once-bustling manufacturing centers, breweries are giving new fizz to sleepy commercial districts. If alcohol-based businesses were blamed for a breakdown of society in the Prohibition era and beyond, breweries are now being seen as a force for good.

“‘The economic ripple effects are definitely there,’ said David Barnett, a Chicago-based senior research analyst for JLL, the commercial brokerage firm. Breweries ‘create a cool tourism aspect for out-of-towners, but it’s been good for residents as well.’

“In 2016, there were 5,301 mom-and-pop beer makers, which are typically known as craft breweries. That figure rose from 4,548 in 2015, when the country surpassed its historic high-water mark of 4,131 breweries, set way back in 1873, according to the Brewers Association, a trade group. (Zero were recorded from 1920 to 1932, during Prohibition.)”

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