Judging by all the hoopla, craft beer joints may be the most exciting thing to hit San Diego since Father Serra built a mission. Journalists and politicians — especially the beer drinkers like a certain popular ex-mayor — like to tout the quality of our sudsy brews, and we’ve gaining a national and even worldwide reputation as a great place to go for a cold one that doesn’t have Miller or Lite in its name.
This week brought yet another beer “summit” and updated statistics about the big boom in the craft beer industry here. “Local beer boom no bubble, report says,” proclaimed U-T San Diego in the headline for a story published Tuesday. “National University study points to even greater growth for thriving industry,” it added.
But that’s not exactly what the study says. It’s a snapshot in time, not a prediction of how the industry will hold up nor whether there’s an untapped market (some beer puns are inescapable) nor whether breweries are due for one of those pesky “market corrections.”
Here are four takeaways from the craft beer study:
Revenue hasn’t kept pace with growth.
The new report, released this week by the National University System Institute for Policy Research, touts the big growth in the craft beer industry here: The number of breweries and brewpubs more than doubled from 2011-2013 (growing to 82 countywide), and related jobs jumped by 40 percent to more than 2,200, largely thanks to big brewers that opened big restaurants like Stone Brewing’s sprawling and busy complex in Point Loma.
At the same time, however, revenue hasn’t grown at the same pace. According to the study, total annual sales at the breweries and brewpubs grew by just 15 percent from 2011-2013 (from $681 million to $782 million).
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there is so much room for the beer industry in SD to grow. barrel-aging is the future. that takes time and a lot practice to get good at. there is plenty of room to distribute out of state. people are getting over the InBev and MolsonMillerCoors products, considering they are not even really beer. and those big boys are realizing they will have to start buying smaller breweries to stem the tide. however, consumers will reject those brands if they don't keep the production separate, which somewhat defeats the purpose of purchasing the craft brands.