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The American Beer Industry: A Major Economic Contribution

Aug 18, 2007
The beer industry has been thriving in the United States since its first recorded presence in the 1630s. America now brews over fifty varieties of beer, including nineteen ales and eight lagers. Hundreds of years after its inception, the American beer industry continues to serve an important social function, while also heavily contributing to the country's economy.

While the delicious taste and aroma of beers entices the public, the industry for these drinkable delights does far more for the economy than many know. Many may see the beer industry as merely a hindrance with problems such as underage drinking and driving under the influence, but this industry works to correct such problems. Also, the beer and ale industry holds a substantial place in America's economy as well as provides jobs for thousands.

According to Beer Serves America, the beer industry employs more the 946,000 Americans in all areas of the United States every year. This amount comes only from those involved directly in the brewing industry. Altogether these employees receive a payroll of more than $25 billion. The government is not left out as over $36 billion in federal, state and local taxes are paid by the beer industry.

In total, the U.S. is home to over than 2,000 breweries and importer establishments and 2,700 beer distribution facilities. However, in the last decade five brewers produced over 89% of all beer bought and sold in the United States. Anheuser-Busch, Miller Brewing, Coors, Stroh and G. Heileman continue to dominate the brewing market, with Anheuser-Busch producing the largest percent of the beer sold in the U.S.

As of 2003, Busch passed the 50% point and earned $485 million. Together all of these facilities help create an "economic ripple" with grain, farming, shipping, construction, marketing and advertising industries all reaping benefits from the beer industry. This indirect employment created by the industry leads to an estimated 1.7 million Americans that owe their jobs to the brewing industry.

Besides having an impact on the economy of America today, the beer industry continues to have a larger impact in the years to come. Last year the beer industry had a growth rate of over 2%. During this same year, 210 million barrels of beer were sold, creating a new record for the industry.

Today more than 3,500 malt beverage brands exist; triple that of a decade ago. American brewers continue to expand as nearly 100 countries gain brewery imports from the United States.

Additionally, there has been an increase in the use of e-commerce within the beer industry. Now various distributors use technology to increase productivity and help lower costs. Many beer distributors now have their own websites, use electronic fund transfers and employ portable computers in delivery trucks.

The beer industry does not stop with simply providing a great beverage, but also gives back to the community through civic support, charitable contributions and emergency disaster relief. According to Beer Serves America, brewers donate a portion of the millions of dollars earned by supporting education, health care, art, the environment and social services. Many breweries promote a diverse workplace as well.

Scholarships and local festivals are also sponsored by many local beer industries. Some breweries have their own scholarship programs focusing on scholarships to benefit minorities and inner-city youth. In addition, the beer industry supports programs that provide leadership development and other educational opportunities.

The beer industry also promotes recycling programs and alcohol awareness both on local and national levels. The industry focuses on the problem of underage drinking by promoting alcohol-free after prom and graduation parties.

In addition, brewers also offer training courses for licensed beverage servers as well as safe boating campaigns. Breweries also focus on the general health of the population by promoting immunization and health screening processes. Anheuser-Busch pays special attention to the health of the community with its Community Health Mobile that travels to fifty cities each year providing immunization and screenings to the underprivileged.

Although it may seem a simple drink, beer and its industry have a great impact on the economy and society of the United States. This industry provides thousands of jobs for Americans and millions of dollars for the government, as well as contributing to programs beneficial to the health and safety of Americans. Additionally, this industry explores new technology to reduce the cost of beer, keeping its consumers in highest priority.
About the Author
Charlotte Buelow is a contributing business writer for Goliath. Goliath is one of the Internet's largest collections of business research, news and information. Learn more about
Goliath.
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