It’s no coincidence that the rise of the craft beer movement has coincided with the revitalization of many of our nation’s downtowns. Breweries have proven to be great draws capable of anchoring a nighttime economy that can help a Main Street development grow and thrive. This, then, is Livability’s inaugural list of Best Beers in the Best Cities, or as we like to call it: 99 Beers in 99 Cities
As always, data guided our selections. The “good places to live” criteria was met by our own LivScore methodology. The consumer data came from Esri, which helped us find cities that spend well on quality beer, spend less on domestic macro beers and overall support dining and drinking both in the home and out on the town. And for the the “best beer,” we turned to the experts: beer drinkers, reviewers and the editors at RateBeer.com. Using their “overall” and “style” scores, we found a highly-rated beer to represent the town.
“Beer enthusiasts aren’t single-minded about their beer tourism,” says RateBeer Executive Director Joseph Tucker. “They’ll see the sights like other tourists but also enrich their experience with great times and great beer.”
As with brewing, there is some craft alongside the science of our list-making process. We had a couple of additional requirements: A town had to have at least two breweries, and we chose no more than three cities per state to give us the best nationwide coverage for hop-heads. We also tried to have as many beers as possible be available (at least in-season) in a well-stocked liquor store near you, but some require an in-person visit. Trust us (and RateBeer) – it’ll be worth the trip.
While macro brewers are struggling, craft brewers are posting double-digit increases in sales and production nationwide, according to the Brewers Association. Mayors across the nation are quick to proclaim themselves “beer cities.” Residents love it, and so do tourists – so much that there’s a newish form of tourism centered around the beer itself.
“Economic development, tourism, talent attraction – these are all great side effects of the craft beer movement in the U.S.,” says Livability.com Editor Matt Carmichael. “But at the end of the day, this is a ranking of great beers in great cities, and it sure is nice to have a cold pint of one of these 99 brews.”
The top 99 cities are featured on Livability.com, along with their LivScore and information about the qualities and amenities that helped them make the list.
Don’t just love beer, #LIVbeer.