O’Connor: Craft beer scene brewing

Published Wednesday, August 1, 2018
by Cathy O'Connor

Have you noticed the rise in craft beer breweries in Oklahoma City? Over the past decade, multiple breweries including Twisted Spike Brewing Co., Stonecloud Brewing Co., Anthem Brewing and Prairie Artisan Ales have entered the market alongside longtime brewmasters such as the Bricktown Brewery, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.

Our thirst for craft beer is reflective of the national trend. According to the Brewers Association, small and independent craft brewers saw a 5 percent rise in volume of beer sales in 2017 and the number of operating breweries grew by 16 percent. The economic impact is significant. The Brewers Association’s most recent economic impact report showed that craft brewers contributed $67.8 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016, a 21.7 percent increase from 2014. Craft brewers were responsible for more than 456,373 full-time-equivalent jobs, a 7.5 percent increase from 2014, with 128,768 of those jobs directly at breweries and brewpubs.

Tourism surrounding craft beer is also on the rise. There are trips and itineraries built solely around craft beer tours, which benefit local hotels, restaurants and retailers along the way. Locally, bicycle tours are organized, making stops at several of the local breweries. The Oklahoma Craft Beer Summit is coming up soon, cleverly titled the “State of the Brewnion.” It is meant to encourage education, innovation and advocacy within the brewing industry. This event, which takes place Aug. 11 at the Tower Theatre, is expecting an attendance of more than 400 people.

What may be surprising is that craft breweries can facilitate placemaking in communities. Breweries often locate in high-density areas, redeveloping blighted or abandoned buildings. For example, Stonecloud Brewing Co. is in the newly redeveloped, historic Sunshine Cleaners Building. Recently, Coop Ale Works announced a $20 million project to revitalize the long-vacant 23rd Street National Guard Armory to expand its operations. The renovation plans include a restaurant, a 22-room boutique hotel and event spaces that will be available for private and community events.

With the recent changes in our laws regarding the sale and purchase of alcohol, I expect we will have more development activity related to the craft beer industry. Our city will benefit from this growing industry from an economic, tourism and social perspective.

Cathy O’Connor is the president of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.

Read the story at JournalRecord.com

Visit our affiliate sites

Shop Oklahoma City In July, the Oklahoma City MSA had an unemployment rate of 3.3%--the lowest unemployment rate the metro has seen since April 2008. Congrats, OKC! 🎉🎉🎉 Story via #VeloCityOKC
Shop Oklahoma City Unemployment is on a decline across all 77 counties in Oklahoma--and OKC's taking the lead with a workforce of over 650,000 people!
Shop Oklahoma City The city that lets you shop til you drop: OKC recently ranked among the top 20 cities where your paycheck goes the furthest! (Ranked no. 4 among cities with a population of over one million) Story via #VeloCityOKC
@okcretail For every month for more than a year now, sales tax growth in OKC has continued to surpass expectations--and it's happened yet again this month! 17 in a row!
@okcretail Hundreds of retailers and paddle sport enthusiasts from across the country gathered in OKC's Boathouse District on Monday for Paddlesports Retailer Demo Day--and its success is making waves 🌊🌊🌊
@okcretail OKC's Chisholm Creek has had a meteoric rise to retail greatness in the last few years--if you blinked, you might have missed it! Story via #VeloCityOKC
Welcome to OKC | Property Search | Success Stories | Districts - Regional | Districts - Neighborhood | News
maps | about us | contact us | sitemap