Livability.com ranked Bellingham number eight in its 2014 list of the “Best Beer Cities” in the U.S.
In the last 30 years, the number of breweries in the U.S. grew from 100 to more than 2,800. According to livability.com’s list, beer not only generates tourism, but food and beer culture often go together to help cities attract and retain residents and businesses.
That’s why livability.com, a site that ranks small- to medium-sized cities on a variety of livability factors, ranked the top 10 beer towns in the country.
Compared to livability.com’s top beer town, Bend, Oregon, Bellingham doesn’t have a high concentration of brewers. Bend has more than 25 breweries and a similar-sized population to Bellingham. But variety and unique beers make Bellingham stand out, according to the list.
“The quality of beers being made in this Pacific Northwest city make up for it,” the article said. “Breweries in Bellingham are pushing the boundaries of craft beer.”
The livability.com article mentions Bellingham’s six breweries and brewpubs, Bellingham Beer Week, and Boundary Bay Brewery – which it calls the keystone of Bellingham’s beer scene – as reasons for Bellingham’s high rating.
Retail stores with an emphasis on craft beers, restaurants and bars that serve local beer, including Elizabeth Station, McKay’s Taphouse, Archer Ale House, Copper Hog and La Fiamma Wood Fire Pizza, also add to Bellingham’s ranking.
Bellingham is one place ahead of Hershey, Pennsylvania and one spot behind St. Louis, Missouri on the list.
Livability also ranked Bellingham number eight in its list of “America’s Best Downtowns” for 2014.
Here’s the full list of best beer cities:
7-St. Louis, Missouri
6-Grand Rapids, Michigan
4-Albuquerque, New Mexico
3-San Diego, California