Beer industry contributes $9 billion annually to Wisconsin’s economy
Study shows brewing employs 2M, contributes $328B to U.S. economy

By Katherine Michalets

May 23, 2019

Raised Grain Brewing in Waukesha has 13 full-time employees with plans to add
two more within the next 2-3 months.

File photo

WAUKESHA — While a cold can of beer is synonymous with summer activities in Wisconsin — from music festivals to fishing — it’s a year-round industry that contributes about $9 billion annually to the state’s economy.

On Wednesday, a study released by the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Beer Institute shows that 62,856 jobs were impacted by the beer industry in Wisconsin and account for $2.5 billion each year in wages and benefits. The industry also generates $1.3 billion annually in business, personal and consumption taxes, according to the study.

This comes as no surprise for Nick Reistad, one of Raised Grain Brewing’s owners, who said the Waukesha brewery’s impact goes beyond the economy.

“The local nature of craft beer means that it significantly impacts local economies. Raised Grain currently employs 13 fulltime employees with plans to add two more within the next 2-3 months, and we have an amazing staff of 35 part-time employees that help us run our taprooms and pop-up beer gardens. Many of our employees live in or near Waukesha,” Reistad said Wednesday.

He also highlighted that Raised Grain’s charitable giving contributes to the well-being of the community.

The beer industry can be divided into three distinct partners: brewers and importers; independent beer distributors; and licensed retailers.

“America’s 3,000 independent beer distribution companies are proud to employ 141,600 hardworking Americans with jobs that pay a collective $9.5 billion in wages, offer solid benefits and provide the opportunity for advancement,” said NBWA President & CEO Craig Purser in a statement. “Independent beer distributors are Main Street businesses whose economic contributions are felt in every community and congressional district across the country as they work with brewers large and small to grow brands and safely deliver America’s favorite alcohol beverage to more than 640,000 licensed retailers nationwide.”

Reistad said that in addition to a local brewery’s “direct economic impacts of employment and tax payment,” craft breweries become a true part of the community.

“Craft breweries are a part of a vibrant local scene that help attract and retain employees and members of the community. Part of our mission has always been drawing people into Waukesha where they can experience all of the wonderful things the city and county has to offer, whether it is our brewery, downtown, or everything else that is great about our city,” he said.

Beer Institute President & CEO Jim McGreevy said beer is not only America’s most popular alcohol beverage, but it generates more than 2 million jobs and contributes $328 billion to the American economy.