Each year, Beer Serves America, a joint venture by the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Beer Institute, put together statistics on just how much money and jobs the brewing industry directly and indirectly pumps into the U.S. economy. It’s a pretty staggering amount, really, and is broken down in a variety of ways to give you a good idea of just where the contributions to the economy come from.
It’s an excellent rebuttal to the neo-prohibitionist position that alcohol does nothing for society, and I’ve rarely seen any of their groups address these positive statistics that show year after year how much is contributed to our society by beer and brewers.
Here’s the press release:
New Study Shows Beer Industry Contributes Billions Annually to U.S. Economy
Report Tallies Jobs, Wages, and Overall Economic Impact
WASHINGTON, D.C. – America’s beer industry, made up of brewers, beer importers, beer distributors, brewer suppliers, and retailers, directly and indirectly contributes nearly $190 billion annually to the U.S. economy according to a new economic impact study. The industry’s economic impact includes more than 1.7 million jobs—paying almost $55 billion in wages—as well as more than $36 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. The study of 2006 data was commissioned by the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA).
“This study shows that more than ever, America’s brewers play a pivotal role in promoting strong and robust economic growth throughout our country,” said August A. Busch IV, president and chief executive officer, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., and chairman of the Beer Institute. “Brewers in all 50 states have been supporting the economy in their communities for generations, creating jobs for their neighbors, tax revenue for public services, and promoting alcohol awareness responsibility initiatives for retailers, schools, and families.”
According to the study, the direct output of brewers, importers, beer distributors, and retailers into the American economy is almost $90 billion each year. The beer industry directly employs more than 900,000 Americans, paying them more than $25 billion in wages. Large and small brewers and beer importers employ 47,000 people, and the nation’s 2,750 beer distributors employ approximately 91,000 individuals across the country. Beer is a key driver of profitability for the more than 531,000 licensed beer retailers, according to TDLinx, a service of The Nielsen Company and the recognized leader in location information management. Beer sales help support roughly 800,000 jobs at these retailers, which include supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, bars, and other outlets.
“Beer distributors are independent family businesses like mine that provide a wide selection of fresh, quality beer to the nation’s retailers and strengthen the U.S., state, and local economies. Over 90,000 hard-working men and women across the country are employed by America’s beer distributors. These people do not work for minimum wage. They earn quality wages and benefits,” said Betty Buck, NBWA board chair and president of Buck Distributing Co. in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
The production of beer helps support other segments of the economy as well. For example, the study showed more than $4 billion in economic contributions for the agricultural sector, including malting barley ($537.8 million), hops ($280.7 million), brewers rice ($222.9 million), and brewers corn ($58.4 million).
“These figures demonstrate that the beer industry extends beyond those who make and distribute our products,” said Jeff Becker, president of the Beer Institute. “As the single largest purchaser of rice in the country and one of the leading purchasers of other agricultural goods, the beer industry’s contributions to America’s farm economy are helping support rural families and small businesses coast to coast.”
“Millions of hard-working Americans earn their livelihood in brewing or beer distribution. This is an industry that takes great pride in the fact that its employees have good wages, employer-provided health care, and good benefits,” said NBWA president Craig Purser. “America’s beer distributors also work within a framework of individual state laws to ensure their products are sold only to licensed retailers who in turn are responsible for selling only to adults of legal drinking age.”
In addition to strengthening the U.S. economy, the industry plays a significant role in promoting responsible consumption of its products. Brewers, importers, and independent beer distributors have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the country to develop and implement numerous programs to promote responsibility and help fight alcohol abuse. These efforts, along with those of parents, law enforcement, educators, federal and state alcohol beverage regulators, and other community groups, have contributed to declines in illegal underage drinking and drunk driving over the past two decades, according to a variety of independent and government data.
The complete Beer Serves America Economic Impact study, including state-by-state and congressional district breakdowns of economic contributions, is available at the Beer Serves America Web site, www.beerservesamerica.org.