Study: US Craft Beer Industry Contributes $68 Billion to Economy

In just four years, the economic impact of small and independent U.S. craft brewers has doubled, according to an updated report issued by industry trade group the Brewers Association on Tuesday.

The study, which was based on two national surveys as well as other government and market data, found that the U.S. craft brewing industry, as defined by the BA, contributed $67.8 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016.

It was also responsible for more than 456,000 full-time jobs in 2016, the BA said, with breweries and brewpubs creating more than 128,000 of those positions.

“As consumers continue to demand a wide range of high-quality, full-flavored beers, small and independent craft brewers are meeting this growing demand with innovative offerings, creating high levels of economic value in the process,” BA chief economist Bart Watson said.

According to the organization, small brewers’ economic impact has increased 21.7 since 2014, when the industry contributed $55.7 billion to the U.S. economy and provided more than 424,000 jobs.

A similar economic study commissioned by the BA in 2012 found that brewers contributed $33.9 billion to the U.S. economy. Since 2012, craft beer production has grown from 13.2 million barrels of beer to more than 24.5 million barrels last year.

Also outlined in the BA’s latest report are the top five states with the greatest economic impact. California, which now boasts more than 850 breweries, led the way, with an output of more than $7.3 billion. Pennsylvania, Texas, New York and Florida rounded out the top five and together, the five states generated more than 35 percent of craft’s overall output in 2016 while contributing a combined $24.2 billion to the U.S. economy.

On a per capita basis, however, Colorado ranked as the top state, generating $764 for every legal drinking age (21+) consumer. Vermont and Oregon, two other hotbeds for craft beer, followed closely behind, generating $666 and $659 per consumer, respectively.

Back in 2012, the top five states for craft beer were California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania and Colorado, which combined for a $12.8 billion economic impact.

In a methodology overview explaining how the craft segment’s direct impact was calculated, the BA said it looked at “the industry itself, including craft breweries, craft beer wholesalers, and retailers that sell craft beer.”

Data gathered via the group’s annual “Beer Industry Production Survey” as well as its “Brewery Operations Benchmarking Survey” was used to assess craft breweries’ impact. Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, IRI Worldwide, Nielsen, the Beer Institute, and the BA was also used to “calculate the rest of the direct value chain,” the organization wrote.

Earlier this year, the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association, two other trade organizations, partnered on a joint “Beer Serves America” report, which found that the entire U.S. beer industry contributed more than $350 billion in economic output.

The Beer Serves America study also found that the industry created 2.23 million jobs that paid a combined $103.3 billion in wages and benefits.

A press release with additional information about the BA’s findings is below. The methodology overview can also be found here.

Boulder, CO • September 26, 2017 — The Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers—today released its 2016 Economic Impact Report, a biennial analysis featuring economic data of craft brewing for all 50 states across the United States, the largest and most comprehensive state-by-state report of its kind.

Contributing $67.8 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016, a 21.7 percent increase from 2014, the data underscores that small and independent craft brewers continue to grow as a powerful economic engine that contributes to businesses and healthy communities in each and every state.

The figure is derived from the total impact of beer brewed by craft brewers as it moves through the three-tier system (breweries, wholesalers, and retailers), as well as all non-beer products that brewpub restaurants and brewery taprooms sell. Craft brewers were also responsible for more than 456,373 full-time equivalent jobs, a 7.5 percent increase from 2014, with 128,768 jobs directly at breweries and brewpubs, including serving staff at brewpubs. In addition to the national impact, the BA examined output of by state:

Top Five States (2016)

  • California: $7,344,502,000
  • Pennsylvania: $5,787,811,000
  • Texas: $4,539,628,000
  • New York: $3,439,441,000
  • Florida: $3,074,261,000

About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The BA represents 4,000-plus U.S. breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers. The BA organizes events including the World Beer CupSM, Great American Beer Festival®, Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America®, SAVOR℠: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, Homebrew Con, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week®. The BA publishes The New Brewer® magazine, and Brewers Publications™ is the largest publisher of brewing literature in the U.S.

Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association and the free Brew Guru™ mobile app. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Brewers Association is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital/familial status. The BA complies with provisions of Executive Order 11246 and the rules, regulations, and relevant orders of the Secretary of Labor.

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