San Diego is the nation’s top market for the number of operating craft beer breweries, and ranks fifth in the U.S. for the number being planned, according to a new national report by brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield.
Researchers said the San Diego region had 125 licensed brewing sites operating at the end of 2016, well ahead of Seattle (95), Los Angeles (75), Chicago (72) and Portland, Ore. (67). The top 10 was rounded out by Denver, Phoenix, Boulder, Co., Orange County, Calif., and Minneapolis.
The list of markets with breweries in planning was topped by Los Angeles, with 29, followed by Houston (27), Chicago (19), Seattle (19) and San Diego (18). Also in the top 10 were Orange County, Phoenix, Austin, Minneapolis and Brooklyn, N.Y.
Nearing the mid-point of 2017, the San Diego region now has more than 140 licensed brewing sites – including breweries, brewpubs and tasting rooms – and at least 25 in planning stages, according to various local industry sources.
“Two key factors have driven the growing popularity of craft brews: foodie culture and the millennial generation,” said Pamela Flora, Cushman & Wakefield’s San Diego-based director of retail research, in a statement. “While the craft brewing trend is now in a new phase of maturity, there are still many opportunities for growth in most major American markets.”
Cushman officials said the U.S. data is based on numbers collected from the Brewers Association trade group and other sources. The report’s numbers exclude locations of brewers that are now part of larger non-craft beer companies, such as San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits and Saint Archer Brewing Co.
Researchers said the number of active U.S. craft breweries has more than tripled over the past decade, going from 1,409 in 2006 to 5,234 in 2016. Craft brewing concepts accounted for roughly 10 million square feet of occupancy growth in the U.S. during the past year, with many breweries occupying previously blighted neighborhoods and abandoned industrial spaces.