San Diego Craft Breweries Generate $299.5 Million Economic Impact

Craft breweries and brewpubs in San Diego generated a $299.5 million economic impact in 2011, according to a new study published today by the National University System Institute for Policy Research (NUSIPR).

Craft brewing has been one of San Diego’s fastest growing business sectors. Since 2011, the total number of craft breweries in the region has more than doubled. While San Diego has attracted wide public interest and industry acclaim for its craft beer, little is known about its impact on the economy. To further study this issue, the National University System Institute for Policy Research (NUSIPR) evaluated industry labor data and measured its economic effects within the region.

Overall, we found that:

• Craft breweries have a significant regional economic impact. In 2011, brewers and brew pubs generated a $299.5 million direct economic impact in San Diego County.

• The economic contribution of craft brewers is more than 1 ½ times greater than the economic impact of Comic-Con International, San Diego’s largest annual convention. NUSIPR also found that the industry made $680.8 million in sales, and employed 1,630 workers in 2011.

• San Diego’s craft brewing community is growing rapidly. More than half of the brewery licenses in the region have been issued since 2011. Larger, more established brewers are also expanding and adding new locations. Given that expansion, when 2012 figures are released we expect to find an even larger economic impact.

• Brewery tourism is an important part of San Diego’s visitor industry. Unlike seasonal attractions, brewery tourism occurs year-round, and most of the major industry events in the region occur during non-peak visitor months.

“San Diego’s craft brewing industry is a major economic driver in the region,” remarked NUSIPR Senior Policy Analyst Vince Vasquez, whom authored of the study. “That said, more partnerships and investment will be needed to advance industry development long-term. Competitor markets are also experiencing similar growth and interest in new brewpubs and breweries.”