While the rise of suburban craft breweries has reshaped the beer industry, real estate experts believe they are also increasing the attractiveness and value of their home suburbs.
Real Estate Institute of Australia President Malcolm Gunning said that the once-industrial Sydney suburbs of Marrickville and Alexandria are two examples of how the advent of an artisan industry has helped to gentrify both suburbs.
“I would have thought that [a craft brewery] was akin to a coffee shop,” Gunning says.
“What it does, it adds another level of interest, a little bit like coffee shops used to. So those sorts of craft breweries and distilleries are an attraction, particularly for the millennials.
“So, if you’re looking at a place to live and you want entertainment near to you, coffee shops, cafes, little restaurants and craft breweries add to that level of interest and attraction, and that improves an area.
“It improves the appeal, which obviously improves the rental value and the purchase value.”
Gunning, who is also Principal of Surry Hills agency Gunning Commercial said that residents of inner-city suburbs of Australia’s largest cities, prefer to be able to entertain themselves within their area.
“If you’re going to live in the inner-city, in particular in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane, you expect to have most of that – the food and the bar culture – on your back doorstep.
“And that’s the reason places such as Teneriffe in Brisbane, a Richmond or Carlton in Melbourne, an Alexandria or Surry Hills in Sydney, are gentrification areas.
“You’ve got a lot of apartments and that type of thing, so there’s an expectation from the occupants there.”
Gunning said that there are a number of factors contributing to the desirability of microbreweries, but attributed drink driving laws, millennials and a young food culture as the three key ones.
“Those areas, they’re really localised, so you’ve got to target all your marketing to your local community.
“The microbreweries are selling their alcohol broadly but the people who are coming to drink at their pub or their bar, are locals.”
He also points to the fact that microbreweries are in fact aimed at women.
“I think microbreweries are fairly and squarely aimed at women.
“One of the reasons craft beer is popular for example, is because of women, because they’ve got such a variety of tastes now, which are more appealing to women than necessarily the mainstream beer that you often get in a pub.
“That’s why there are so many different beers on tap now, it’s to cater to that really broad spectrum of tastes these days.”
Brisbane-based real estate agent Tom Ryan agrees, saying the craft breweries in Brisbane’s inner-city suburbs have helped create a strong sense of community.
“Without a shadow of a doubt the relationships that craft breweries have built with their communities has helped these small businesses to grow from strength to strength,” he said.
“People see craft breweries as startups, more bespoke, more boutique, run by real people as opposed to pubs,” Ryan explained.
“There’s a sense that it’s very local, the people who own the businesses live locally.”
“In terms of the way that [craft breweries] represent themselves in the market or the area, they’re real people, they’re a family-owned business to an extent.
“They treat everyone in their community like they’re a big family.”
Ryan said that the real estate market in these inner-city suburbs is still doing really well.
“We’re definitely seeing quite a buoyant market or a stronger market than if you were further out.”
Over the past 15 to 20 years, Ryan explained, people’s lifestyles have changed considerably, whereby the aspiration to have a big house and land isn’t as high.
“People prefer convenience and lifestyle, something smaller that’s closer within all the action as opposed to something that you’ve got to jump in the car and drive a considerable way to get to what a lot of people enjoy now – craft beer, restaurants, breweries, cafes.
“Maybe even more so in the past five years but definitely people are less inclined or they don’t necessarily need the huge home.”
Ryan said that the buyers he is dealing with now definitely prefer local amenity to anything else.
“For them, convenience and lifestyle scream out, and if you’re a buyer in this market you’ve got a multitude of things at your door, again, you don’t have to drive a long distance.”
Nick Marshall, National Partnership Director at online property news publication The Urban Developer said it’s about good developers building unique spaces in sub-regional areas.
Marshall told Brews News that as population densities increase in the inner-city suburbs of Australia’s capital cities, the more diverse the retail, food and beverage options become.
Marshall said that these communities are building their own unique cultures.
“I think that’s really good for creating culture, when you’ve got all these businesses running you’ve got a lot of diversity within the actual people living in these communities, which then is the building blocks for culture… whether that be music, sport, or the love of art or beer.
“You get this feeling that a lot more people are starting to move towards a very unique or individualistic idea of themselves and identity and I suppose that then leads into a lot of the products they want to consume and be aligned with.”
Good developers, Marshall explained, are looking to deliver something that is a unique idea that they’re really proud to stand behind, but it also has to be viable.
That, Marshall said, is seen in both a positive and negative light.
“In the commercial sense, just because something is not commercially viable doesn’t mean that it’s not worthwhile.”