Craft Breweries – Where to Locate?

Location, location, location. Deciding where to locate is one of the most important decisions for any new business. As competition increases in the craft brewing scene, finding a prime location is critical to success. What should you be looking for?

Let’s look at one local town where craft breweries are thriving: Canandaigua, New York. One factor that contributes to a brewery’s success is the passion of the craft beer community and its support for local craft beer. While strong community interest often helps newer breweries succeed financially, it also provides an opportunity for engagement with local professionals and enthusiasts.

Local tourism is also a key factor. While competition will often negatively affect the business viability of certain industries, nearby craft beverage manufacturers can sometimes draw more tourists to the area, increasing exposure for a developing brand. Additionally, Canandaigua often hosts concerts and festivals that bring people to the area. The summer cottage community also brings people from the local cities to the area to spend much of their summer months. All of these attractions bring locals and their guests into town for lunch, dinner, shopping, and entertainment. The busy town ensures greater foot traffic and higher profit sales for the tap rooms.

What’s the takeaway? Every craft brewery is different and must ensure it chooses a location appropriate for its vision. However, those looking to launch a new craft brewery or open a second location should look for a location that offers one or more of the following features:

  • Long standing festivals and events
  • Seasonal cottages with strong tourism industry
  • 90 min. proximity to a larger city
  • Local craft beverage scene
  • Regional craft beverage industry
  • Other businesses in town that enable people to stay in town for their needs (grocery, restaurant, bank, laundromat, etc.)
  • Strong housing market

Finding a location can be a challenge for a new or expanding craft beverage manufacturer. Most breweries aspire to differentiate themselves from their competitors and make the best beer possible. While the finished product is unique and specific to the brewery, successful products all boil down to the same essential ingredients. Learn the ingredients for a successful location and you will be well on your way to achieving your goals. I hope this information assists you with formulating a plan and identifying factors that will contribute to the success of the new brewery.