BEERCATION DES­TI­NA­TION

Trav­e­loc­ity ranks Al­bu­querque 10th on its list of 2017’s best cities to visit for brews

Albuquerque Journal - - FRONT PAGE - BY TAY­LOR HOOD

Over the last decade, Al­bu­querque has seen an ex­plo­sion in the num­ber of mi­cro­brew­eries, pubs, craft beer halls and tap­rooms. For the sec­ond year in a row, Al­bu­querque has made Trav­e­loc­ity’s Top 10 list of “Beer Des­ti­na­tions.”

Trav­e­loc­ity be­gan keep­ing a beer tourism in­dex in 2016 to list the top 300 mar­kets in the coun­try for craft beers and for a new trend called “Beer­ca­tions.” In both 2016 and 2017, Al­bu­querque rang in at No. 10. In the No. 1 spot this year was Port­land, Ore., fol­lowed by Den­ver and Seat­tle.

Trav­e­loc­ity bases its in­dex on four fac­tors: num­ber of brew­eries per capita, rideshar­ing avail­abil­ity, non-stop air des­ti­na­tions and lodg­ing.

The num­ber of ac­tive craft brew­eries na­tion­ally has more than tripled over the last 10 years, from 1,409 in 2006 to 5,234 in 2016, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from Cush­man & Wake­field, a na­tional com­mer­cial real es­tate firm.

The re­port said the num­ber of brew­eries in New Mex­ico has more than dou­bled since 2011, to 57 in 2016. In the past year, the num­ber has grown by 26.7 per­cent.

The craft beer craze is largely driven by two fac­tors: foodie cul­ture and the mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion, or those un­der the age of 37, the re­port said. It said re­cent re­search shows mil­len­ni­als are more in­ter­ested in find­ing “gen­uine” ex­pe­ri­ences than older gen­er­a­tions. The per­cep­tion is that craft beers are lo­cal and “gen­uine,” which has given rise to the idea of “beer­ca­tions,” ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

“While mil­len­ni­als make up 41 per­cent of the beer-drink­ing pop­u­la­tion, they ac­count for the lion’s share of weekly craft beer drinkers — 57 per­cent,” the re­port states.

But the craft beer craze is not just good for tourism, it is also a boon for re­tail and in­dus­trial spa­ces. Ac­cord­ing to the real es­tate firm, the vast ma­jor­ity — over 90 per­cent — of re­gional craft brew­ing op­er­a­tions have taken over in­dus­trial spa­ces.

Al­bu­querque has seen nu­mer­ous brew­eries and tap­rooms open re­cently. Among oth­ers, Red Door Brew­ing opened a new tap­room in the North­east Heights, and Trac­tor Brew­ing has a new Four Hills lo­ca­tion with plans to open a West Side lo­ca­tion. Can­tero Brew­ing is plan­ning to open this win­ter near the Brew­ery Dis­trict, and Lava Brew­ing will open soon on the West Side.

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