In previous blog posts, we discussed the workforce shortage here in Fond du Lac and the challenges arising from an aging working population and a lack of young workers to replace them. Establishing craft breweries* in the city just might be a piece of the attraction solution and here’s why:
They are favorites of Millennials.
- Millennials are the young workforce Fond du Lac needs to attract. They also just happen to love craft beer. They buy and consume more of it than older generations, enjoy supporting local small business, revitalizing areas, partake in beer tourism, and are one of the major factors for the rise and popularity of craft breweries and beer in recent years1-3.
They create a sense of community.
- One of the major themes and motivators for people in the craft brewing industry is creating a sense of community and belonging. These craft breweries often become a place where people can drink, socialize, network, and establish a stronger bond with their community. Unsurprisingly, all this focus on a sense of community and belonging are major values of millennials. This is why, in-part, they have been responsible for the rise of the craft brewery and beer scene4-5.
They contribute to economic growth.
- Research has shown that beer value chains (the production, marketing, selling, etc. that adds value to the business/product) can become a vehicle for economic growth and development by contributing to the success of state and local areas, like Fond du Lac6. By creating more economic growth and prosperity, prospective talent will be much more interested in living and working here in the Fond du Lac area. In addition, the economic growth, prosperity, and influx of talent can help to put Fond du Lac “back on the map”.
They are lacking in Fond du Lac.
- Even though Wisconsin is one of the “craft beer hotspots” in the country with over one billion barrels produced each year in addition to being home to over 200 craft breweries, there is only one craft brewery in the county (Knuth Brewing Company in Ripon). In contrast, most neighboring counties and metro areas have multiple breweries7. There’s no apparent reason as to why Fond du Lac couldn’t support at least one craft brewery.
These reasons illustrate how a craft brewery could be a tool to help address the talent attraction and workforce problem facing Fond du Lac. These effects of craft breweries don’t just apply to talent attraction and millennials either. Their economic and community benefits would apply to, and impact, all community members. Lastly, a craft brewery would generate tourism and marketing value for the area, things all communities, but especially Fond du Lac, can always use more of. So, if you or anyone you know is considering opening up a small business here in Fond du Lac why not make it a craft brewery?
*We are combing small-medium microbreweries and brewpubs into this term. According to the Brewers Association, a microbrewery produces less than 15k barrels a year and sells 75%+ of their product off site. Whereas, brewpubs sell 25%+ of their product on site and operate a full-sized restaurant, at their brewing location. (Brewers Association | Promoting Independent Craft Brewers)
- Here’s How Much Americans Are Spending on Craft Beer | MyRecipes
- Millennials and the Take-Off of Craft Brands: Preference Formation in the U.S. Beer Industry (nber.org)
- Craft Breweries and Economic Development: Local Geographies of Beer | Reid | Polymath: An Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Journal (siue.edu)
- Creating a Bigger Community Through Beer at Red Leg Brewing | Beer (themaverickobserver.com)
- Pittsburgh craft breweries create new brews, sense of community – The Pitt News
- Beverages | Free Full-Text | Craft Beer as a Means of Economic Development: An Economic Impact Analysis of the Michigan Value Chain | HTML (mdpi.com)