New analysis shows Alabama short 3,000 jobs and $284 million from craft beer

Alabama brewing has had a wild ride

Alabama brewing has had a wild ride lately

Update: picked up the story.

Craft brewing has had a wild ride over the last few years. From 2009 to 2013 beer production in the state has increased from just over 1000 barrels to just short of 30,000 barrels, with no signs of slowing down. In 2013, the latest data available, production increased 47% from the previous year.

So are we done? Have we finally caught up? Not even close.

Still ranked 50th in per-capita economic impact

The Brewers Association in 2013 conducted a state-by-state analysis of craft beer and found that Alabama ranked 50th in per-capita economic impact. It is important to note that this study looked at the impact of all craft beer to the economy, not just the impact from in-state manufacturing.

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We ranked behind Mississippi (49th) and only beat Florida (51) in per-capita impact (the study included Washington, DC). There is a lot of room to grow craft beer in Alabama.

What if Alabama becomes average?


From the Beer Institute and National Beer Wholesalers Association

Last month, we asked the chief economist for the Brewers Association to compare Alabama’s economic impact from craft beer to the national average. The result of his analysis is the following white paper:

The Craft Brewing Industry in Alabama: Current Status and Future Potential

If the per-capita economic impact of craft beer increases just to the national per-capita level, it will mean nearly 3,000 new jobs (direct, indirect, and induced) and an additional $284 million to the state GDP.

These jobs are not only at the brewery – most are indirect and induced employment. The Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association in 2014 found that each brewery jobs creates 45 jobs in related industries.

How do we get there?

[pullquote]Given that in-state production represents roughly one-third of the total beer value chain, an increased in-state industry would be the primary driver of increased per capita and total economic impacts.
-Bart Watson, Brewers Association[/pullquote]

This study analyzed the impact of all craft beer to Alabama, which is now mostly from imported brands such as Sierra Nevada and Sweetwater. The main growth potential is in manufacturing. Manufacturing will drive local growth in supply, distribution, and retail.

In order to realize the full potential of craft beer in Alabama, policy makers must seek ways to support craft beer production in the state. One legal change will not create 3,000 jobs overnight, but removing an unusual restriction such as those restrictions placed on direct sales is a necessary first step.