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Beer bigger than Comic-Con in North County

Report: 'Hops Highway' lucrative for N. County

Teri Figueroa, U-T SAN DIEGO

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

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The San Diego North Economic Development Council hosted the event and commissioned the report, which was done by National University System Institute for Policy Research.
The study found that, beyond the $185 million in direct economic benefits, craft brewing had a $272.3 million impact in North County last year when indirect and “induced impacts” were factored in — like brewery employees spending some of their paychecks at other businesses, which then grow or hire new workers as a result.
Among the report’s key findings: North County breweries and brewpubs employ about 850 workers, and local brews are sold at the region’s highest-earning restaurants.

Marketing the region as Hops Highway is “low-hanging fruit” for brewers, said Vince Vasquez, one of the researchers behind the report. Craft brewers don’t advertise much, relying on distribution and word-of-mouth about their product. The distribution is starting to get there: North County brews are often offered in the highest-earning restaurants in North County’s nine incorporated cities.