Beer Biz: Money Maker

January 2014

Colorado's newly minted legal marijuana business has, of course, grabbed the country's attention. But we shouldn't forget about beer.

As the craft beer industry continues to boom in Colorado and across the country, a report by the Boulder-based Brewers Association (the trade organization responsible for the Great American Beer Festival) indicates that craft breweries have contributed a whopping $33.9 billion to the national economy in 2012. 

The report tracks the economic impact of beer on three levels—at breweries, and among wholesalers and retailers. In 2012, according to the report, craft brewers sold an estimated 13,235,917 barrels of beer, and accounted for more than 360,000 jobs. The report indicates that the impact of breweries in Colorado was $1.6 billion, which ranked fifth among all states behind California, New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania. When the figures are adjusted per capita, Colorado ranks second behind Oregon.

"With a strong presence across the 50 states and the District of Columbia," said Bart Watson, staff economist at the Brewers Association, in a statement, "craft breweries are a vibrant and flourishing economic force at the local, state and national level.” 

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock