National City Strategies Aimed At Attracting the Craft Brewing Industry


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National City is interested in breaking into the lucrative craft brewing industry. The objective of this project was to examine the sustainability of city services and revenues through policy analyses concentrated on attracting craft brewers. Included in this scope of analyses are policy options that may deter brewers and possible negative implications of an increased craft brewing presence. Craft brewing is integral to the economy, infusing cities with a new business stream and acting as a catalyst for revitalization efforts.

Nationally, California produces more craft beer annually than any other state, and San Diego has been crowned craft beer capital of America. While the economic downturn has affected consumer spending, craft beers are defying recessionary trends with an impressive upward trajectory. As popularity and craft beer-centric events grow, San Diego’s tourism industry has witnessed paralleled growth. Attracting tourism from outside of National City’s boundaries is important to stimulating the local economy. Additional revenues for local governments are paid through licensing and development fees, retail taxes, real estate and personal property taxes, business income taxes, excise taxes, and sales taxes.

This report is divided into four sections of recommendations that provide a range of possible strategies the City can utilize to attract this prosperous industry.

The “Building Community Buy-In” section presents the importance of creating an accepting community that buys into the idea of having craft brewery presence in the City. Stakeholders include residents, local businesses, elected officials, and bureaucrats. A key component to building acceptance is dispelling negative stereotypes associated with alcohol consumption and misuse. Highlighting the positive contributions craft brew-eries have on the economy and revitalization efforts can be helpful. Communication, education, and early engagement are the best options to develop a policy for attracting craft brewers and solidifying surrounding community buy-in.

The “Marketing to Craft Brewers” section contains information officials can use to market their city to craft brewers. On the surface, the demographics of the population residing in National City do not match the ideal demographics of craft beer consumers. However, examining projected market trends tells a different story about the expanded consumer base that lies in wait in National City. Also in this section are recommendations for an Innovative Business Committee, successful economic incentives deployed by other cities, a marketing brochure, and a how-to manual to provide prospective brewers.

The “Policy Analysis” section proposes revisions to policy language for conditional use permits and establishment of new microbrewery policies. There are recommendations on how to address nonconforming liquor stores, amend existing land use and zoning policies, and support co-existing industries. Included are policies that mitigate negative impacts associated with increased brewery presence.

Finally, the “Vision Plans” section presents existing National City resources that can be leveraged to attract craft brewers. Local business partnerships can be beneficial for establishing a distribution hub for Southern California. Different business models (malting, aquaponics, urban farming, and agritourism) can be incorporated to offer tourists a unique craft beer experience. National City also has valuable resources to help businesses identify and apply for tax credits and exemptions, wage reimbursement programs, and green business incentives.

Read the final student report delivered to the local gov/community partner.

The Sage Project Contact Info
Kristofer Patron
Program Administrator
(619) 594-0103

University Faculty Contact
Shawn Flanigan
Public Administration

Local Government / Community Contact

Community Development

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