Before he was sidetracked by a "snark attack" a couple of weeks ago, Ben Brown was about to embark on a discussion of beer as an economic development tool, prompted by the announcement that Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing Company would be opening a brewery in Asheville, North Carolina. J. Katie McConnell picks up where Brown left off and looks at local efforts from across the country to attract and facilitate the establishment of craft breweries, including the intense competition for New Belgium.
"Why all the attention to breweries?" asks McConnell. "Well, aside from the fact that beer is delicious, craft breweries are extremely desirable from an economic development standpoint. They contribute to "place making," are growth-oriented exporters, and attract tourists."
McConnell details the ways in which craft breweries help define a sense of place and local identity, their allure as an export industry with growth potential, and their attraction for tourists.