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Beer Contributes $25 Billion Annually To California Economy

Sure it’s a press release, but it still provides newer, updated numbers on just how much beer, not even including all other alcohol, contributes positively to our economy, an economy I hasten to add is not doing terribly well. Still, many in our state legislature continue to think we should be punished with higher taxes than any other goods sold in the state. This moral crusade gets harder to defend when you point out how many jobs are created by beer, and not just brewers and brewery workers, but all the way downstream it includes, distributors, truck drivers, warehouse employees, salespeople, bar and restaurant owners, grocery, convenience and liquor stores, specialty shops, waiters and bartenders, concession stand workers, and let’s not forget the writers who write about this stuff called beer. A great many people depend on beer for their livelihoods, and the state depends upon on salaries and its sales to collect taxes. Tax those businesses out-of-business, and a ripple effect will be created that puts many more people on the dole and no longer paying taxes. Higher prices means lower sales equals less sales and other business taxes, too, so I struggle to understand the New Drys’ priorities. It seems they’d prefer a world without alcohol that’s in a great depression economically to a more sensible world that’s stable financially but with alcohol available for a reasonable price.

Here’s the press release:

A new economic impact study shows that America’s beer industry, made up of brewers, beer importers, beer distributors, brewer suppliers, and retailers, directly and indirectly contributes $25,252,333,555 annually to California’s economy. The study, commissioned by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) and the Beer Institute, also shows that the industry’s economic impact in California includes 211,082 jobs — paying $8,348,855,437 in wages — as well as $1,282,032,097 in federal, state, and local taxes.

“Beer distributors are proud providers of 95,000 quality jobs with solid wages and great benefits in every state and congressional district across the country,” said Phil Terry, chief executive officer of Monarch Beverage Company in Indianapolis, Indiana, and chairman of NBWA. “As privately-owned businesses, beer distributors are invested in their communities and work hard to ensure the effective state-based system of alcohol regulation, which works to keep communities and consumers safe.”

“America’s brewing industry continues to play a pivotal role in supporting this nation’s economic viability,” said Tom Long, president and chief commercial officer of MillerCoors, and chairman of the Beer Institute. “Brewers in California have been a driving force in their communities for years by creating jobs and tax revenue for public services, and promoting alcohol awareness responsibility initiatives for retailers, schools, and families.”

According to the study, the beer industry directly employs 108,199 people in California, paying them $3,625,642,816 in wages. The 207 beer distributors in California employ 11,519 people. Large and small brewers and beer importers employ approximately 5,391 people. Beer sales help support roughly 91,289 jobs at licensed retailers, which include supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, bars, stadiums and other outlets.

“In addition to providing quality jobs with solid wages, the three-tier beer distribution system provides transparency and accountability and works to keep American consumers safe,” added NBWA President Craig Purser. “This time-tested, effective system of state controls, in which America’s beer distributors play a critical role, works to ensure alcoholic beverages are sold only to licensed retailers who in turn are responsible for selling only to adults of legal drinking age.”

Nationally, the beer industry directly and indirectly contributes more than $198 billion annually to the U.S. economy and provides nearly 1.9 million jobs — generating nearly $62 billion in wages and benefits. The industry also paid $41 billion in business, personal and consumption taxes in 2008. Consumption taxes included $3.8 billion in federal excise taxes, $1.7 billion in state excise taxes and $5.7 billion in state and local sales taxes.

“These numbers demonstrate that our industry is essential to several sectors of the U.S. economy, particularly as the nation struggles to regain its footing in this uncertain climate,” said Jeff Becker, president of the Beer Institute. “For this reason, it is important that state and federal officials consider equitable tax policies that do not unduly harm an industry that provides so many domestic jobs and so much economic growth.”

In addition to strengthening the California and U.S. economy, the industry plays a significant role in promoting responsible consumption of its products. Beer distributors (which are licensed by the state and the federal government), brewers and importers have invested in communities across the country to develop and implement programs that promote responsibility and help fight alcohol abuse. These efforts, along with those of parents, law enforcement, federal and state alcohol beverage regulators, educators and other community groups, have worked to contribute to declines in illegal underage drinking and drunk driving over the past two decades, according to independent and government data.

The Economic Impact study was conducted by John Dunham & Associates based in New York City and covers data compiled in 2008. The complete study, including state-by-state and congressional district breakdowns of economic contributions, is available at Beer Serves America.

Sounds to me like beer is not hurting our society, but the New Drys are trying to do just that.

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