Beer is an economic powerhouse

Beer isn’t simply proof that “God wants us to be happy,” as Ben Franklin once remarked. It’s also an economic driver.

The National Beer Wholesalers Association Thursday announced a new campaign  promoting the business of beer distribution.

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Some of the facts behind what the association says are the 135,000 men and women working in the industry:

These employees together earn $11.2 billion in wages and salaries, which the association said helps generate $70 billion for the U.S. economy, and nearly $180 million in community economic impacts, including support for charities and development, and almost $13 billion in tax revenue.

Just in Ohio, beer distribution supports 4,748 direct jobs, the association also says.

“Beer distributors may be best known for driving beer trucks down local streets delivering fresh beer to stores, restaurants and pubs, but they are doing more than keeping store shelves stocked and taps flowing — they also are building beer brands, generating unprecedented consumer choice and boosting local economies from coast to coast,” association President and Chief Executive Craig Purser said in a statement.

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The business of beer means more than simply distribution, of course. Brewing and serving can also be quite profitable.

Last year, a biennial economic impact study commissioned by the same association and the Beer Institute showed that the craft beer industry had exploded in recent years, contributing more than $13.2 billion to Ohio's economy in 2016. That represented a $2 billion increase from 2015.

Also last year, a study concluded that the national beer industry had a $350 billion overall impact on the economy and generated more than 2.23 million jobs, providing $103.3 billion in wages and benefits. It also paid more than $63 billion in taxes, that study said.

In Butler County’s Trenton, the MillerCoors brewery has 550 employees working at a plant with the capacity to brew 11 million barrels of beer every year. It’s the Buckeye State’s second largest brewing plant.

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