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Craft beer and gentrification

Updated: Sep 20, 2018

Craft beer can play a role in community development, but how does a beer that may not appeal to everyone change a community that includes everyone?

Many cities have changed their zoning codes and area designation to make it easier to establish craft breweries and brewpubs, with the goal of economic development. Let’s not forget the $32 million in bonds and subsidies given to Stone Brewery.

There is a bigger example of this in Richmond and it is called Scott’s Addition. According to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, this 152- acre community has had 36 tax credit projects since 2005, with a total of just under $133 million in eligible expenses.

This historic area was given additional tax credits for development. According to Virginia Department of Historic Resources, a key reason for the incentives was due to a struggling city, declining population, declining tax base and businesses moving out.

Historically when you have seen redlining and steering occurring in real estate, those same terms were used.

New breweries often look to invest in inexpensive industrial spaces near urban hubs and in residential districts. In turn, they become a beacon that appeals to whiter, wealthier, and more educated demographic groups. 

When the same investors for the breweries are also investing in residential properties it is not far-fetched to see who the opportunity benefits the most. Currently Scott’s Addition has 1-bedroom apartments under 1,000sq/ft. renting between $1,100 and $1,600 per month.

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