Toasting the craft beer hotspots of the US

As more Americans head to a local microbrewery, tap room, or regional brewery each year, it's creating vibrant markets for industrial real estate

October 27, 2017

Demand for independently produced craft beer is booming across the U.S., with two new craft breweries opening up every day.

Today there are more craft breweries in this hops-loving country than ever before, according to JLL’s Craft Beer Guide to Real Estate, with states including Alabama, Florida and North Dakota seeing production growth of more than 1,000 percent between 2011 and 2016.

“Vibrant beer hubs tend to have a few traits in common,” says Barnett. “They’re typically located in walkable neighborhoods on the outskirts of a downtown, often in areas where arts are thriving and people in their 20s and 30s are moving in — including young, single professionals as well as parents who can appreciate a family-friendly open pub tap room.”

While vibrant beer hubs have sprouted in cities across the country, it may be easier to start a brewery in one state over another.

“Craft beer makers are finding a warm welcome in many densely populated areas, but it can be easier to succeed in some states than in others,” says David Barnett, Senior Research Analyst, JLL Americas. “State policies dictate some of this, because alcohol laws differ widely from state to state, making it harder to pull off a smaller-size brewery in some areas.” For example, state policies vary on barrel cap production limits, self-distribution rights and onsite sales of beer to-go.

Many states are now relaxing restrictions on beer makers looking to sell directly to consumers — as partially evidenced by the new plethora of taprooms. Pint-friendly policy is just one factor that makes a market viable.

The popularity has been so overwhelming in some areas that oversaturation looms in some markets. But with a truly unique offering, paired with the right location, opportunity can still abound.