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2016 San Diego Craft Brewing Industry Update (April 2016)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

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SAN DIEGO - San Diego’s craft brewing industry experienced strong growth in 2015, but new industry challenges and local policy choices are emerging on the horizon. That is the conclusion of a new report released today by the National University System Institute for Policy Research (NUSIPR), a regional economic think tank based in La Jolla.

From survey responses and public data, NUSIPR found:


·        2015 was a good year for industry growth. Overall, 114 San Diego based breweries and brewpubs generated $851 million in sales last year, and employed 4,512 workers.

·        Industry wages are less competitive. The craft brewing regions of Portland and Boulder now match San Diego for average industry wages. Overall, San Diego industry wages have been flat.

·        Craft breweries and brewpubs in the center-north part of the City of San Diego (City Council District 6) generated a $71.4 million economic impact in the region. Establishments in the San Diego City Council District 6 area also produced $102.9 million in sales and support 638 jobs, or about 10% of county’s total for craft brew employment and sales.

·        Regional policy choices are directly impacting local brewers. Public debates over water supply, land use and housing may affect the brewing industry’s economic competitiveness long term.


“With nearly two-thirds of the City’s breweries located in my district, I am pleased that National University is highlighting this economic engine and the positive impact craft beer is having on District 6,” remarked District 6 City Councilman Chris Cate. “District 6 is truly San Diego’s beer belt with its numerous breweries in such close proximity to one another, increasing the number of visitors to the area.”

“Industry sales and jobs continue to rise each year in San Diego, but the local marketplace for craft beer is changing,” remarked NUSIPR Senior Policy Analyst Vince Vasquez, author of the report. “Regional marketing efforts and consumer education will be critical in identifying ‘craft’ brewers in a new era of industry acquisitions and expansions in San Diego.”