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(Photo courtesy of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild)

PHOENIX -- Over the next few months, two new craft breweries will open in Phoenix near downtown.

Rob Fullmer, executive director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild, said he hopes that will soon change.

"We do have a great beer culture here. We just have the challenge of seasonality and the fact that we're a little bit spread out," he said.

Fullmer said he thinks attracting small craft breweries could give the downtown a boost.

"There'll be a tendency to have more festivals downtown and gathering points for downtown," he said.

From a public safety standpoint, he said it makes sense to have breweries near public transportation -- like the light rail train -- and within walking distance of homes.

Although the downtown Phoenix Partnership says more than 9,000 people live downtown, Fullmer said more need to move there in order to attract more breweries and other businesses.

According to the Craft Brewers Guild, there are 17 breweries in the Valley, including seven in Phoenix. A study commissioned by the group found the total economic impact of craft brewing in Arizona was $278 million in 2011.

Christina Estes, Reporter

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