Report: Local craft beer is a heavy hitter, with triple the revenue of the Padres
Bucking national and statewide trends, San Diego County’s craft beer industry is a heavy hitter, pulling in three times the revenue of the San Diego Padres.
An upcoming report found that revenue hit $802 million last year, 26 percent above 2016’s $638 million. Ed Ashley, the report’s co-author, noted that in the same year craft beer revenue in the U.S. rose 1.6 percent and in California fell .33 percent.
“Statistically speaking, I would call both of those flat,” said Ashley, a California State University San Marcos business professor. “That said, San Diego County is up quite a bit.”
Ashley and co-author Todd Colburn, a craft brewery marketer and adjunct professor on the San Marcos campus, previewed the report at a seminar Wednesday. Commissioned by the San Diego Brewers Guild, the full report will be released during San Diego Beer Week, Nov. 2-11.
Among the highlights shared Wednesday:
- San Diego County has more craft brewing locations — about 178 — than any other U.S. county.
- Local craft breweries produced 1.1 million barrels of beer in 2017, up from 900,000 in 2016.
- Revenue from local craft breweries is roughly three times the Padres’ revenue ($226 million).
- Total economic impact, including money spent on supplies and marketing plus indirect expenditures, hit $1.1 billion in 2017, a 26.4 percent increase from 2016’s $870 million.
- That’s roughly triple the economic impact of Balboa Park, its museums and the Zoo combined.
The data seems to support the guild’s boast that the region is the “Capital of Craft.” San Diego County accounts for more than one-third (36.9 percent) of all craft beer sales in California.
While increasing competition and rising costs pose significant challenges — several county breweries, including Monkey Paw, Chuck Alek and Intergalactic recently shut down — the number of local breweries continues to grow.
Ashley said area brewers were buoyed by a recent decrease in federal excise taxes on beer, from $7 to $3.50 per barrel on a brewery’s first 60,000 barrels.
“Everybody we talked to is projecting they will be hiring more,” he said, “and everybody said they will be spending more on capital expenditures.”
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