These Tools Can Help Determine a Great Place to Open

Best friends having fun and drinking beer at bar counter in pub

With exponential growth in recent years — including more than 1,000 breweries opening in the last two-plus years in the US — many consumers are favoring locally-produced brews. Doing the right research now may determine where to open later for success. 

Small towns across the country offer opportunities for success, but how do you identify the best fit for your craft beer brewery? Here are some online tools and publicly available information that can help you make an informed choice.

  • Market Research: Before committing to a location, it’s essential to conduct thorough market research. Online tools like Google Trends, SEMrush, and Statista can provide valuable insights into regional and national beer consumption trends.
  • Demographic Data: Understanding the local population is crucial. Websites like the U.S. Census Bureau and Data USA offer detailed demographic information about small towns, including age, income levels, education, and more. This data can help you identify towns with the right mix of residents who are likely to appreciate craft beer and have the disposable income to support it.
  • Location-Specific Data: Several online tools, such as Walk Score and Trulia, provide insights into neighborhood amenities, walkability, and real estate market trends. Consider the accessibility and desirability of potential brewery locations within your chosen town.
  • Economic Indicators: Investigate the town’s economic health by examining factors such as unemployment rates, job growth, and business-friendly policies. Websites like the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Small Business Administration offer data on economic indicators. A town with a stable and growing economy is more likely to support your craft beer business.
  • Infrastructure and Licensing: Consider the practical aspects of setting up a brewery, such as access to water, transportation, and utilities. Online resources like city websites and state economic development agencies can provide information on these crucial infrastructure elements. Also, every place has its own regulations governing the sale of alcohol. Research the specific licensing requirements, zoning laws, and taxation policies that apply to breweries in your target location. State alcohol control boards and local government websites are valuable sources of information.
  • Tourism and Events: Small towns with a strong tourism industry can often present excellent opportunities. Research local events, festivals, and attractions that draw visitors to the area. Social media, the town’s website, and event listings can help you identify these opportunities. Also, engage with the local community to gauge interest and gather feedback. Online platforms, such as town-specific forums and social media groups, can be invaluable for connecting with residents and understanding their preferences. Don’t underestimate the value of speaking directly with local experts, such as real estate agents, small business advisors, and existing brewery owners in the area as well.

Photo courtesy Adobe

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