Cite as: Barajas, J., G. Boeing, and J. Wartell. 2017. “Neighborhood Change, One Pint at a Time: The Impact of Local Characteristics on Craft Breweries.” In: N. Chapman, J.S. Lellock, and C. Lippard (Eds.) Untapped: Exploring the Cultural Dimensions of Craft Beer. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Press.
Cities have recognized the local impact of small craft breweries, in many ways altering municipal codes to make it easier to establish breweries and making them the anchor points of economic development and revitalization. Nevertheless, we do not know the extent to which these strategies impacted changes at the neighborhood level across the nation. In this chapter, we examine the relationship between growth and locations of craft breweries and the incidence of neighborhood change across the United States. In the first part of the chapter, we rely on a unique dataset of geocoded brewery locations that tracks openings and closings from 2004 to the present. Using measures of neighborhood change often found in literature on gentrification-related topics, we develop statistical models relying on census tract demographic and employment data to determine the extent to which brewery locations are associated with social and demographic shifts since 2000. The strongest predictor of whether a craft brewery opened in 2013 or later in a neighborhood was the presence of a prior brewery. We do not find evidence entirely consistent with the common narrative of a link between gentrification and craft brewing, but we see a link between an influx of lower-to-middle income urban creatives and the introduction of a craft breweries. We advocate for urban planners to recognize the importance of craft breweries in neighborhood revitalization while also protecting residents from potential displacement.