A Montana College Town's Beer Economy

Missoula, Montana is home to seven craft brewers, and two more are in the works. The small town has seen development and jobs from these local businesses, but some fear market saturation.
August 18, 2017, 11am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Draught Works Brewpub in Missoula.

Missoula, Montana is a college town with a lot of beer. "This small city of around 70,000 is served by seven independent breweries providing locally made alternatives to mass-market brews," Joe Eaton reports for CityLab. How big of an impact that has on local industry is debatable: Eaton spoke to one brewer who estimated the town was home to about 300 brewing jobs. This number is a lot smaller than the number of workers in the healthcare or restaurant sectors in the city.

Still the industry is new and growing, though it has slowed some in recent years. "Bart Watson, chief economist of the Brewers Association, predicts craft brewing will continue to grow, but he said he is starting to see towns and cities in Colorado and Oregon that are pushing the limit of what the market can take," Eaton writes. If there's more growth, it may be in new markets.

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Published on Thursday, August 3, 2017 in CityLab
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