Across the country, it’s easy to get absorbed in the red state versus blue state debates about how our political patchwork will impact the future of America.
But regardless of political leanings, one thing is clear: every state in the nation is a beer state. That’s something the entire political spectrum can agree on. No truer is that sentiment than on December 5th, this Friday – the anniversary of the end of Prohibition.
The ratification of the 21st Amendment was a historic day for this country. Just look at where the beer industry has grown since then.
According to a Gallup survey, beer is America’s adult drink of choice by as wide of a margin as the pollsters have seen in six years. Beer has again firmly established itself as the beverage Americans reach for, and for good reason: Beer is welcome at almost any occasion.
And this preference for beer is a huge boon to the national economy and the American workforce. As a recent Beer Institute analysis illustrates, for every one job at a brewery or beer importer, there are another 45 jobs created in supplier industries and in local communities across the country. This includes jobs in sectors like agriculture, transportation, distributing, business services, packaging and machinery and retail.
Recent stories from the Rust Belt (“Beer Employs 82,000 Who Earn $3 billion in Ohio“; “Beer Business Has Michigan Hopping“), to the Sun Belt (“California’s Beer Industry Tops the Nation with 240,000 Jobs“), and everywhere in between, documented the positive economic impact of beer. The industry contributed more than $246 billion to the country’s bottom line in 2012 and put more than 2 million Americans to work.
And we’re talking about high-paying and highly skilled jobs, too. For example, major brewers offer an average compensation of $44/hour of wages and benefits to brewery workers, for average annual wages and benefits of $88,000, up to $100,000 when overtime is included. That’s more than six times the minimum wage and well above the median household income.
When including management and administration positions, the average annual wage and benefits compensation for larger brewers is more than $111,000. Larger brewers have diverse requirements and employ food scientists, steamfitters, pipefitters, welders, purchasing managers, engineers and other highly-trained workers. On top of this, a growing number of small and regional brewers are bringing jobs to local communities.
Take any state: Kentucky? Beer’s total economic impact is $1.62 billion, provides 16,520 industry-related jobs and contributes $332 million in taxes. Head east to North Carolina and you’ll find beer contributing $7.1 billion to the economy there, as well as 65,800 industry-related jobs and $1.45 billion in taxes. And the list goes on and on.
Like our nation’s lawmakers, we too work for our “constituents” – consumers and our workers – so we are determined to build on this record of success. A key to continuing this forward momentum is reforming unfair federal taxation that is currently hamstringing our great industry, thanks to an antiquated, invisible and regressive federal tax that hits American business and consumers in their pocket.
Thankfully, there’s strong bipartisan support for repealing this regressive federal excise tax. We hope all members of Congress – freshmen and incumbent alike – will join us in supporting the millions of Americans at work because of the beer industry and those who consume its products responsibly by reducing the federal excise tax on America’s favorite drink when the opportunity arises.
Every night across America – and particularly during the holidays – millions of Americans share important moments with friends and family over a few beers.
That’s because beer unifies people. It unifies communities. It unifies America. Beer is an iconic symbol of America that is woven into the fabric of our culture. It has been for generations, and beer will serve Americans for many more generations to come.
Jim McGreevy is President and CEO of The Beer Institute. The Beer Institute is the national trade association for the American brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as beer importers and industry suppliers.