Beer Serves America: Impact on the Economy | NBWA: America's Beer Distributors

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Blog| Aug 24, 2015

By: Craig Purser, NBWA President & CEO

Across the country, there are brewers and importers, distributors and retailers who go to work each day and focus on what they do best in order to deliver great beers to American consumers. But, every now and then, it’s important to look at the full economic impact generated by the American beer industry. It is a great story to tell, and we should all take part in telling it. 

The National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Beer Institute recently released a new Beer Serves America economic impact study that details how the beer industry contributes to the American economy. The study, based on government and industry data from 2014, examines direct, indirect and induced spending, labor and tax collection.

The study highlights the importance of all three tiers in the beer industry working cooperatively to generate nearly $252 billion in economic activity, produce $48.5 billion in tax revenue and support 1.75 million jobs.


The chart below shows how the three tiers work together to generate more than $252 billion in economic activity – that’s 1.4 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product in 2014.

Brewers, distributors and retailers as an industry generate $108.6 billion in economic activity. In turn, businesses that provide supplies to support each of these three tiers generate $83.2 billion. A strong and healthy supplier tier means even the smallest independent retailers, distributors and brewers are able to achieve their goals. Finally, $60.8 billion in induced impacts are the result of all the spending activity by industry and supplier employees that go back into the economy.

In turn, supplier businesses generate $83.2 billion to support all three tiers of the market. A strong and healthy supplier tier means even the smallest independent retailers, distributors and brewers are able to achieve their goals. Finally, the induced impacts are the result of all the spending activity by industry and supplier employees that go back into the economy.


The 1.75 million jobs and $78.6 billion in wages that the beer industry generates are the foundation of the industry’s economic engine. Around the country, independent distributors and retailers operate businesses in their local communities creating jobs and paying wages that maintain a strong state and local tax base that benefits more than just beer consumers.

Retailers that sell beer – from supermarkets to convenience stores, restaurants and taverns – are truly the powerhouse in job creation for the industry, employing more than 805,000 workers. Working with independent distributors, retailers in communities across the country make sure the right beer gets to the right consumers.

The number of distributor jobs has increased by more than 20 percent in the last decade, to more than 131,000. As independent businesses, America’s licensed beer distributors are proud to provide quality jobs with solid wages and great benefits to employees at more than 3,300 facilities, located in every state and congressional district across the country.

Brewers and beer importers directly employ more than 49,000 workers. More than 70 percent of brewing jobs are linked to large and mid-sized brewers and beer importers, while about a third are employed by microbreweries and brewpubs.

Barley growers, hops producers, bottle- and can-manufacturers and those responsible for other goods and services necessary to produce beer create and support another 383,190 jobs in the United States. And, the multiplier effect of the jobs in the beer industry cannot be overlooked. The companies and businesses that support the people and commercial efforts of the U.S. beer industry put another 384,870 people to work every single day.


The taxes generated by the entire industry are shown in the table below and cover all business and consumption taxes generated in federal, state and local jurisdictions.

Beer Industry Taxes, (2014 Billions $)


















More than $48.5 billion in tax revenue is generated by the production and sale of beer and other malt beverages. This is equal to nearly 40 percent of the retail price paid for beer by consumers.

The information contained in the Beer Serves America study provides a clear picture of how important the entire beer business is to the U.S. economy and more than 90 million beer drinkers.

We live and work in the best country in the world for selling beer. Under the current system, consumers have access to incredible variety and selection of beer from small, medium and large brewers and importers alike. The fact that consumers have access to thousands of brands through independent retailers and distributors is a testament to the strength of our industry.

I encourage all independent retailers to use the information in Beer Serves America to highlight the great jobs you provide and the economic impacts you deliver. Together, the American Beverage Licensees and NBWA work to preserve this effective market and the economic contributions generated by independent retailers and distributors.



National Beer Wholesalers Association President & CEO Craig Purser provides industry commentary each quarter for ABL Insider, a publication of American Beverage Licensees (ABL), a national trade association for retail alcohol beverage license holders across the United States. Each column provides insight on issues of concern to beer distributors, their retail partners and others in the alcohol beverage industry. To learn more about ABL Insider, please visit