In what is called the first comprehensive report on beer distribution companies’ national and state economic impact, The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) says Massachusetts’ own beer industry has resulted in 1,737 jobs directly tied to the creation and distribution of beer, as well as approximately $896 million in total economic impact “taking into account how beer distributor activities are intertwined with many parts of the economy, especially the personal services sector”, the report stated.
The report, entitled, “America's Beer Distributors: Fueling Jobs, Generating Economic Growth & Delivering Value to Local Communities”, also found that Massachusetts beer distributors add $200 million to the federal, state and local tax bases and an additional $166 million in excise and consumption taxes on beer sold in the state; distributor contributions to local community activities create $3.3 million in impacts each year; and that the beer distribution industry in the state contributes more than $1 billion in “transportation efficiencies” in the industry annually.
The Massachusetts beer industry is part of a national beer industry that the creators of the report state is not given credit as far as economic impact.
"The beer distribution sector is a hidden gem that has been tremendously undervalued in previous economic reports," said Dr. Bill Latham, who along with fellow University of Delaware researcher Dr. Ken Lewis, created the study. "Fueling more than 345,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country, beer distributors add $54 billion to the nation's gross domestic product and offer far reaching benefits to brewers, importers, retailers, consumers and government agencies at all levels."
The Massachusetts Brewers Guild lists 44 area brewers as members of their organization (including five in Boston), and states that 34 brewing licenses have been issued by the state’s Commonwealth’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission and the federal Tax and Trade Bureau, including brewpubs, farm breweries and beer manufacturers.
Even with that impact, the craft brewing industry in Massachusetts could expand even further is new bills are passed that would change wholesale laws that craft brewers say hold back the bee distribution process.
In January, members of the Brewers Guild met with legislators to seek a change in a regulation that requires brewers who want to switch wholesalers to avoid a long, expensive court process that they say could take years to unravel.
The proposed House Bill 999 would streamline the process and provide small craft brewers with a “definitive process” of changing wholesalers.
“It would essentially level the playing field for small brewers so that once they get into a contract, which can be costly, they can back out when a wholesaler is not meeting up to (a brewer’s) standards,” Massachusetts Brewers Guild Executive Director Kristen Sykes told Bostinno. “In order to create more jobs for craft breweries, we want to see this legislation passed. We want to modernize this ancient law.”