Sunday’s ad is another one from the United States Brewers Foundation, from 1951. This a series of ads they did in 1951 using a Q&A format aimed at highlighting different positive aspects of beer and the brewing industry.
How does the Brewing Industry compare in size to other industries?
It ranks eleventh* … with a dollar volume two-thirds that of the passenger-car industry in 1949.
The ad claims in 1951 there were “400 and more” breweries, characterized as most “small breweries” and it was the 11th biggest industry. Today we have over 3,000 mostly small breweries, and the total beer market is around $100 billion, as compared to $4.5 billion in 1949. But that doesn’t even put the brewing industry in the top twenty, at least according to a list I found on Wikipedia of “Industries by GDP value added 2011.” They also mentioned that their market was about 5 times larger than the “entire soft-drink industry,” which would have made soda less than $1 billion in 1949. Today, at least according to one source I found (Reportlinker) that the U.S. soft-drink industry was nearly $125 billion, making it larger today than beer (assuming the two figures are comparable). Though that doesn’t really surprise me, with soda being so ubiquitous in our society.