The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) released a report noting the total economic impact of beer distribution across the country, and some of the numbers in the study are staggering.
America’s Beer Distributors: Fueling Jobs, Generating Economic Growth & Delivering Value to Local Communities was produced by Bill Latham and Ken Lewis of the Center for Applied Business & Economic Research at the University of Delaware, and it provides an in-depth view of beer distributors’ economic contributions by taking into account how beer distributor activities are intertwined with many parts of the economy, especially the personal services sector. The report also accounts for the amount of resources contributed by beer distributors in supporting community events and local economic development, contributing to charitable causes and promoting responsible alcohol use and adds the impacts of these activities to the usual impacts of distributor operations.
Key findings of the economic impact study include:
- The beer distribution industry directly employs more than 130,000 people in the United States;
- When the impacts of distributor operations, capital investment and community involvement are considered, the total number of impact jobs exceeds 345,000;
- Beer distributors add $54 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product;
- Beer distributor activities contribute nearly $10.3 billion to the federal, state and local tax bases. This does not include the nearly $11 billion in federal, state and local alcohol excise and consumption taxes;
- The beer distribution industry contributes more than $22 billion in transportation efficiencies for the beer industry each year; and
- Beer distributor contributions to local community activities generate $175 million in impacts annually.
“The beer distribution sector is a hidden gem that has been tremendously undervalued in previous economic reports,” Latham said. “Fueling more than 345,000 direct and indirect jobs, beer distributors add $54 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product and offer far reaching benefits to brewers, retailers, consumers and government agencies at all levels.”
For example, let’s look at Illinois: The state ranks fifth in the nation in terms of beer’s economic contribution to the state’s economy. The study shows that distributor operations in Illinois provide 15,196 jobs totaling more than $1 billion in wages and salaries.
The study further investigates the added economic benefits to Illinois because of efficiencies in the beer distribution system. It is estimated that more than 25.6 million teacher hours or nearly 25,000 miles of highway maintenance are supported because of wholesale beer contributions.
“We play a vital role in supporting the Illinois economy,” according to Bill Olson, president of the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois (ABDI). “Our members represent generations of family owned, independent businesses that are invested in their communities to keeping local economies thriving, make a wide variety of products available to consumers and offer good paying jobs.”