Here is an astonishing stat: between 1985 and 2015, the number of craft breweries nationwide jumped from 27 to 4,225. The craft beer revolution has clearly made a meteoric ascent, and the formation of “brewery districts” is the main driver.
This revolution, like many other urban economic phenomena, is highly clustered. And these clusters have historically taken shape in places that have been subject to disinvestment and deindustrialization. Depressed, formerly industrial areas with an awkward collection of teetering metal warehouses might sound unappealing to some. But breweries can fill this underserved space like a hand in a glove. Here are a few reasons why:
A few decades ago, the stretch of the Charleston Peninsula North of I-26 up North Morrison Drive (NoMo) was dilapidated and nearly barren. Now it is a economic hotbed and the last frontier of development in Downtown Charleston. It is also home to 11 craft breweries and the foundation of Charleston’s “Brewery District”.
How did this group of breweries pop onto the scene with such force? Simple, GROWTH. The area known as NoMo has exploded in the past decade, with dozens of high-profile commercial projects bringing residential units, office suites, and commerce to the neighborhood. The Morris, Charleston Tech Center, Morrison Yard Office, Pacific Box & Crate, The Quin are a few of the multi-million office dollar developments that have continued to transform the area. And as it blossomed, so did the number of people who imbibe. Massive residential communities have appeared in NoMo like Foundry Point (276 units), Morrison Yard (380 Units), Atlantic on Romney (304 units), and Lennar’s Cormac (XXX units), along with a handful of projects in planning.
The mutually beneficial relationship between craft breweries and other commercial real estate development is pretty clear: people want to be near breweries, and breweries want to be near people.
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