This week is American Craft Beer Week, a national celebration of small and independent craft brewers throughout the U.S. and the powerful impact they are having on cities and regions across the country.
Not only do craft breweries serve as a catalyst for creating a sense of place and identity within a community, they are also powerful vehicles for economic growth and sustainability.
Craft beer by the numbers
According to the Brewers Association, there are more than 6,200 breweries in the U.S. as of 2017, and 98 percent of those are small and independent craft brewers.
In 2011, craft brewers accounted for only 5.7 percent of the beer market share nationally. As of 2016, they accounted for 12.3 percent and employed a workforce of approximately 130,000 nationwide.
In Georgia, the number of craft breweries has increased from 20 in 2011 to nearly 70 at the end of 2017. In Roswell, we are proud to have four - which makes us tied with Decatur and Savannah for the second highest number in the state of Georgia.
Craft beer in Roswell
As most Roswell locals know, we’ve long been known throughout the region for our independent, chef-driven restaurant scene. This industry has established for our city a unique culture and identity, one that provides a solid foundation for the complementary industry of craft beverages.
Our community’s entry into the craft beer industry really began more than five years ago, when our team at Roswell Inc took more than 60 community leaders to Asheville, North Carolina on one of our leadership trips. Our group included elected officials, city staff, local business owners and civic leaders.
While there, we learned about Asheville’s craft brewery industry and its significant economic impact on the city and explored together what that industry might look like in Roswell.
After our return, we partnered with city leaders as they created Roswell’s first microbrewery ordinance, which allowed Gate City Brewing Company and Abbey of the Holy Goats to open in 2015, and Variant Brewing Company and From The Earth Brewing Company to open in 2017.
The future of craft beer
While Roswell has established itself as a craft beer leader in Georgia, we’re only in the beginning stages of this industry’s growth in our city. We believe Roswell is uniquely positioned to become a craft beer leader throughout the entire southeast region within the coming decade, as we continue to develop this industry.
What’s even more exciting is that cultivating the craft brewery scene here has led to several related businesses opening in Roswell - including Tap & Six, Roswell’s first craft beer market; Deep Roots Wine Market & Tasting Room, set to open in the coming weeks; and a bourbon distillery and meadery that are both in the works right now.
We are well on our way to becoming a regional leader for all craft beverages - beer, wine and spirits - while strengthening our city’s economic vitality through this emerging industry.