Craft Beer Could be the New Millennial Market Attractor

Regional markets and neighborhoods offering lots of craft beer options to locals could be the next hot millennial markets. Just over a year ago, reporter Patrick Sisson speculated small breweries could bring good fortune and new life into stagnating markets. As an example, he took a close look at Petersburg, Illinois, where a local funeral home director took his homebrewing hobby and, Sisson said, created a “thriving small business in his hometown” that “brought good fortune to the town” and “injected life” into the local town square. Once the brewery opened, two new boutiques opened as well and other local, foundering businesses were revitalized.

Not surprisingly, local areas hoping to attract successful, young professionals are taking note of the craft-beer success trend. For example, in Atlanta, Georgia, more than 30 microbreweries have opened since 2012, about half of which are located in the Midtown area of the city. While this neighborhood certainly hasn’t been struggling or stagnating lately, the craft-beer craze is likely contributing to rising home values in the area as more millennials are attracted to the idea of being “locals” who can easily walk into those microbreweries and order a pint.

This is not just anecdotal analysis, either. Marketing and research firms like Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) back the idea up. “Millennials love the idea of drinking a beer they can’t get in another state,” observed one JLL analyst. Another JLL researcher added, “If a craft brewery is nearby or in the building, that is definitely something many employers will highlight when they look to attract and retain workers.”

Other examples of areas where craft beer presence has helped raise real estate values or revitalize local economies include Avondale, a neighborhood in Birmingham, Alabama, and Tarboro, North Carolina. Successful craft breweries are “perfect for depressed areas with lots of excess and abandoned industrial real estate” and tend to have an “oversized community impact” as a result, observed Brewers Association chief economist Bart Watson. Even better, added University of California lecturer Julie Wartell, “Bars attached to breweries result in much less crime than regular bars.”

Do you consider a strong craft brewery or microbrewery presence to be a positive indicator for a real estate market?