Report: U.S. Beer Industry Generates $253 Billion in Economic Activity


The U.S. beer industry contributed $253 billion to the American economy and supported 1.75 million jobs in 2014, according to the latest “Beer Serves America” report, jointly commissioned by the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

Findings from the study, which is released every two years, will be presented to Hill staffers, policy makers and members of the press during a Congressional briefing later this afternoon.

In a phone call with Brewbound, Jim McGreevy and Craig Purser, the respective chiefs of the BI and the NBWA, two of the industry’s largest lobbying groups, extolled two of the beer industry’s greatest economic contributions: jobs and taxes.

“We really do have a good story to tell,” said Purser. “There is a quest for revenue to pay for things like the Highway Trust Fund. We do not want to be adversely affected by overall tax reform.”

Compiled by independent economics firm John Dunham & Associates, the latest Beer Serves America study estimates the economic contributions made by the malt beverage industry across the brewing, wholesaling and retailing tiers. The latest data will be used to remind lawmakers “what an important economic contributor beer is to the economy,” Purser said.

The study found that brewers and importers directly employ more than 49,500 Americans and that distributor jobs are up 20 percent in the last decade. The middle tier now employs more than 131,300 men and women, an increase that both Purser and McGreevy attributed, in part, to the growth of craft.

“I think it takes a lot more people to get these new brands established,” said Purser. “As we watch the number of new breweries increase day after day, we see an increase in distributor contribution to get those brands established and to provide continued support for major brands that are more household names.”

Suppliers to the brewing industry – manufacturers of items like bottles, cans and cardboard – are responsible for more than 383,000 jobs and generate more than $83 billion in economic activity, according to the report.

The Beer Serves America report is “the most comprehensive analysis of the industry available,” according to a joint BI and NBWA press statement, and uses data collected from private companies, commercial data supplier Dun & Bradstreet and three federal agencies — the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

“We need to make sure that members of Congress understand our important economic impact to the U.S. economy,” McGreevy told Brewbound. “They need to know that we matter in their districts. This report helps us tell a broader story.”

Findings were further explained in an executive summary, which is available on the Beer Serves America website.

Additional highlights:

  • The total number of brewing facilities has grown by 2,290 in two years.
  • Large and regional brewers account for 70 percent of total employment.
  • Major brewing firms that make more than 2 million barrels annually and have a significant U.S. presence — Anheuser-Busch InBev, MillerCoors, Pabst Brewing, Boston Beer, Constellation, Heineken and Diageo, among others – directly employ 28,000 U.S. workers (56.7 percent).
  • Regional and micro producers directly employ more than 15,700 workers (31.7 percent).
  • About 5,825 more people work in breweries than did in 2012.
  • More than 2,060 additional beer wholesaling jobs were created in 2014.
  • Each job in the brewing industry generates 34 additional full-time equivalent jobs (2.65 in wholesaling; 16.25 in retailing; 1.45 manufacturing jobs; 1.22 jobs in farming).