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Craft Beer Brewing A Success Story In San Diego

San Diego brewpubs and craft breweries are making their impact felt in the local economy. The industry made a $600 million economic impact last year.

San Diego's craft beer industry nearly doubled its economic footprint in San Diego over the past three years.

Brewers and brewpubs generated $600 million worth of economic activity in the region last year, and a local researcher says the sector is expected to continue growing.

Photo by Claire Trageser

"Beertender" Drew Lopez sells an unlabeled beer growler to customer Edward Wiezel at Mike Hess Brewing's tasting room in North Park on Friday, Dec. 19, 2014.

The numbers come from a National University System Institute for Policy Research study, which found the sector created or sustained about 6,200 jobs last year.

"What we do have here is a very talented workforce. That talent has, really over time, won a lot of awards and won a very strong reputation for San Diego craft beer," researcher Vince Vasquez said.

The industry is tapping into a demographic trend, according to Vasquez. The number of brewpubs is up, there are more jobs and annual sales are approaching $900 million. All that is linked in part to craft beer's appeal to young people.

"Millennials are younger people who have a preference for craft beer, over the macros, over the Budweisers," Vasquez said. "And those millennials are only now emerging in significant numbers."

Vasquez expects the sector to continue to grow in coming years although he's not sure it will double in size every three years.

The region has nearly 100 local brewpubs and that success is attracting investment from international beer makers.

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