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San Diego craft beer study shows craft brewery, economic impact growth

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Posted at 2:58 PM, Aug 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-14 19:16:05-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A new report from California State University, San Marcos, shows San Diego County's craft beer industry continued its uphill climb last year.

In 2018, San Diego County saw its craft brewing family grow to a total of 155 independent craft brewers, bringing the region to a total of 202 operating brewery locations, the report revealed. The study was compiled by CSUSM, the school's Office of Business Research and Analysis, and San Diego Brewers Guild.

Data did show that brewery openings slowed starting in 2017, but have rose slightly since.

The majority of breweries are packed into Central San Diego, hosting 55% of craft breweries in the county, the report says. North County holds the second largest piece, with 32.5% of breweries, following by East County with 8.1%, and the South Bay with 4.4%.

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Year-over-year, craft beer's economic impact to San Diego grew 6% in 2018 to an estimated $1.2 billion. Since 2016, the region has seen a 34% rise in economic impact from the craft beer industry.

In another measurement of craft beer's outlook in San Diego, the report's craft beer confidence index stood at 91, which the report says indicates a strong outlook over the next year. The index surveys how respondents feel about barrelage production, distribution, employment, and capital expenditures.

The report, adding that San Diego will soon see its own Museum of Beer in 2020, highlights the region's outlook for craft beer, breweries, and the industry's impact.

When it comes to the style of beer drinkers prefer most, nationwide IPAs took 25.2% of the market, followed by belgain white (20.6%), other styles (14.5%), seasonal (13.6%), and lagers (11.1%). Pale ales, fruit, and amber ale beers made up the rest of the country's segmentation.

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A few local breweries did hit hard times in 2018. East Village's Monkey Paw Brewing and Miramar's Intergalactic Brewing closed their doors. Green Flash also sold off its west coast operations in a foreclosure. This year, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant closed in Mission Valley.

The state, overall, though continues to be ranked as having the highest number of craft breweries in the U.S. with more than 900 breweries as of January 2019. The state produced 3.4 million barrels of beer in 2018.

The full report is available to read online here.