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Economy

Can Craft Breweries Transform America's Post-Industrial Neighborhoods?

A new study tells the story of craft beer’s astonishing rise and geographic clustering.
A message against the beer conglomerates is displayed before a selection of Wicked Weed beers at Brawley's Beverage in Charlotte, NC
A message against the beer conglomerates is displayed before a selection of Wicked Weed beers at Brawley's Beverage in Charlotte, NCChuck Burton/AP

I enjoy living in Canada for many reasons, but one downside has been my distance from my home country’s craft beer revival. Since Canada’s outmoded liquor laws prevent much of the good stuff from flowing across the border, I’m reduced to hauling cases back to Toronto from Michigan, where my wife’s family live.

While Canada has experienced a craft beer boom of its own, it’s impossible to compete with the sheer variety of brews being produced in America these days. Between 1985 and 2010, the number of craft breweries in the United States jumped from 27 to 1,754. Even more remarkably, between 2010 and 2015, the number of craft breweries has more than doubled, to 4,225.