San Diego’s independent craft brewing industry continues to have a major economic impact on the region. At the 2018 San Diego Craft Beer Economic Impact Summit, held on Wednesday, Oct. 10, the California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) Office of Business Research and Analysis, in collaboration with the San Diego Brewers Guild (SDBG), shared preliminary findings showing significant revenue growth for independent brewers in the city. San Diego County craft brewers produced an economic impact of about $1.1 billion in output and generated about $802 million in revenue for 2017.
SDBG, a nonprofit organization supporting San Diego’s community of more than 130 independent brewers, plays a critical role in promoting the county’s diverse craft brewing community through events and education. The organization joined forces with the CSUSM Office of Business Research and Analysis to conduct research on the region’s independent craft brewing industry and its economic contributions. Led by Ed Ashley, the Director of Business Development in the CSUSM College of Business Administration, the university student research group worked to apply classroom knowledge and research methods for developing an annual San Diego Craft Beer Economic Impact Report and releasing updated 2017 fiscal numbers.
“It’s great to see local universities, such as California State University San Marcos, in San Diego County take an active interest in supporting our independent brewing community,” said San Diego Brewers Guild Executive Director Paige McWey. “2017 proved to be a successful year for the ‘Capital of Craft,’ and these research findings truly show our vibrant region is on track for continuous growth. I look forward to celebrating the release of the full report this November during San Diego Beer Week.”
An additional focus of this year’s report examined the monetary impacts of community engagement. San Diego independent craft brewers’ philanthropic contributions totaled $4.9 million in 2017, supporting more than 200 nonprofit organizations in the county and 500-plus nonprofit organizations in California. These totals illustrate how much giving back to the community is a core principle of the craft beer community.
“CSUSM is home to various craft beer-centric programs that are helping document the history of San Diego craft beer,” said Ashley. “It was a natural fit for the university to collaborate with the Brewers Guild and develop an annual report benchmarking our region’s accomplishments. Two years later, it’s proven to be a positive asset for the industry, and I’m thrilled to be leading this research on behalf of a forward-focused institution.”
The full San Diego Craft Beer Economic Impact Report, prepared by CSUSM in collaboration with SDBG, will be released during San Diego Beer Week — Nov. 2-11, 2018.
Key findings and executive summary
- Nationwide, craft beer retail dollar sales increased 8 percent to $26 billion during 2017. This sales figure represents 23 percent of the $111.4 billion national beer market.
- San Diego still ranks as the top county in the nation with more than 130 independent craft brewing locations.
- San Diego County craft brewers produced over 1.1 million barrels (bbl) of beer during 2017, up from 900,000 bbl during 2016.
- San Diego County craft brewers produced an economic impact of about $1.1 billion in output for 2017, up from $870 million in output during 2016. This number represents about triple the impact of Balboa Park and all of its associated activities (i.e. museums, attractions, convention activities, the zoo, etc.) in San Diego.
- San Diego County craft brewers generated about $802 million in revenue for 2017, up from $638 million during 2016. This number represents about triple the amount of revenue generated by the San Diego Padres during 2017.
- Recent decreases in federal beer excise taxes have freed dollars for craft brewers to reinvest in their businesses and in the community.
- San Diego independent craft brewers’ philanthropic contributions totaled $4.9 million in 2017, supporting more than 200 nonprofit organizations in the county and 500-plus nonprofit organizations in California.