Welcome to the United Beers of America. According to new data, beer and beer-related industries provide two million Americans with jobs and contribute $350 million to the country’s GDP. This data comes from Beer Serves America, an organization that represents everyone impacted by the beer industry, from brewers to distributors to producers. According to their new economic study, beer accounts for 2 percent of our total GDP — more than agriculture, education services, and mining.
You know who else beer helps employ? Me. So yeah, I’m excited to see that the industry is huge. But seeing concrete numbers makes me feel like all of my warm, fuzzy feelings about beer are not just because I’m deep in the beer bubble. Now I can tell my mom and her friends that I don’t “just write about beer and alcohol.” I write about a huge American industry. Beer matters, and not just to beer people.
Beer — good beer — really is everywhere.
Don't Miss A DropGet the latest in beer, wine, and cocktail culture sent straight to your inbox.
Some other notable numbers from the report: Beer and related industries contribute $63 billion in taxes. Each brewery job supports 33 other beer-related industry jobs. Fifty-eight percent of beer and beer-related jobs are related to large and midsized breweries. The majority is clearly shrinking, though. Having 42 percent of the industry propped up by independent and small breweries is an encouraging industry trend.
In other beer news:
Private equity firms love beer, too
While everyone was getting worked up about Wicked Weed and Lagunitas being purchased, a Boston-based private equity firm called Castanea Partners picked up a majority stake in a California brewery called The Bruery.
Yeah, private equity. The money men personified are into small breweries, too.
According to Brewbound, the owners of The Bruery will keep two seats on the board while Castanea Partners gets three. But Patrick Rue, one of the founders, also said that the folks at Castanea “are very patient investors who aren’t necessarily looking to get their money back very quickly.”
Other companies in the Castanea portfolio: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, First Aid Beauty, and Essentia Water. No other breweries.
People didn’t seem to have as jumpy a reaction from the partial sale of The Bruery as they did from any of the AB InBev sales. Perhaps it’s because there’s a cleaner feeling of a brewery selling out to a company that doesn’t have a dirty track record of sales manipulation. Or maybe we’ve all just come down with acquisition fatigue and there’s not enough energy left to care.
The Bruery can’t be too upset with the reaction. Selling a partial stake was a smart way to get some extra capital without having the negative stigma and baggage of a big brewer buy you out.
AB InBev invests $2 billion to make its beer “more sophisticated”
Apparently AB InBev’s High End line of formerly craft breweries (post-craft world, remember?) isn’t sophisticated enough. Over the next four years, AB InBev will invest $2 billion in American brewing operations, the The Washington Post reports.
The money is going to new distribution facilities across the country and brewery improvements. It’s not, AB InBev claims, money for new breweries. The company may be widely mocked by the press, but it’s still the biggest, wealthiest brewing company in the world.
Will $2 billion be enough to make everyone think the company is sophisticated? It probably won’t change anyone’s mind who’s already against the company. If formerly independent breweries want to capitalize on that huge investment, that’s their choice, though. Just don’t call it fake news when people call an AB InBev-owned company an AB InBev-owned company.