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Beer industry survived prohibition and pandemic

Beer sampler photo
Wikimedia | Paul Joseph

A new study reveals its national and state economic impacts. The production, distribution and sale of beer supports roughly 2 million American jobs. The biennial Beer Serves America report indicates the economic impact is $332 billion.

“That’s nearly 70,000 people in the state of Michigan. All the breweries and distribution companies that are in your state for a nearly $10 billion economic contribution.”

Jim McGreevy is President and CEO of the Beer Institute. He says in Michigan beer supports 1,300 agriculture jobs, 2,000 brewing jobs, 3,000 in manufacturing 5,000 in distribution and nearly 30,000 retail jobs.

While the beer kept flowing during the pandemic, many of those retail jobs were temporarily or permanently lost with health restrictions closing brew pubs curbing virus spread. Across the nation, retail beer sales dropped $20 billion. McGreevy explains that early on during the pandemic federal and state governments made beer production and distribution essential.

“Hard to make up that $20 billion drop in retail beer sales, but brewers found ways to get their products to consumers and consumers responded.”

Brewers providing carryout. They collaborated and took advantage of PPE loans.

“This summer we’re just hoping for a boom in the hospitality industry, bars and restaurants and beer’s going to be there to help that.”

McGreevy says the industry is largely stable and on the rebound.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.