What once started as a few guys making beer in their home to entertain their family and friends has grown into one of the fastest growing markets in the brewing industry. Much like moonshiners became the leaders of the hard liquor industry, our beloved neighbor with his little brewing set up keyed off a chain reaction, and we’re loving it!
According to The Brewers Association, small craft breweries have seen a 12% rise over the past decade. While that number may sound small, it’s certainly not! With over 150 old and new craft breweries in Florida alone and more opening every year, this growth is outstanding!
While this may sound like it is only good news for the brewing industry itself, this is simply not true. There is a correlation between this growth and something that many have forgotten. Small business. If we take a look at the downturn in small businesses over many decades, we can see a frightening chain of events that is FINALLY seeing a bright side.
Where once there were Mom and Pop stores all over the world, big corporations have bought out, pushed out, or frightened off a large percentage of those small businesses over time. This has, in effect, hurt communities and in some cases, destroyed entire towns. Just look at states such as Nevada, where ghost towns are abundant. This type of result didn’t pop up overnight. It took decades of defeat before those towns finally gave up altogether and wandered off to what looked like better pastures.
The same can be said of the brewing industry, which is now seeing itself headed for a better turn. Although larger companies have held the forefront for decades, small craft breweries have finally begun to set up operations and bring in their fermentation tanks to bring some diversity to the industry as a whole.
One exciting number to report is the astounding 4,269 breweries existing in the U.S. alone as of 2015! That is the largest number recorded in U.S. history and is still growing! The association expects to see these numbers rise over the next decade as well, and has openly stated that this growth is great for the economy.
While beer, ale, lager, and other types of alcohol are not what they were referring to, the sales of these items are pretty darn important. Sales bolster the economy at a local level and then upper levels in turn. However, that’s not what is most significant!
When a brewery opens it needs employees. Following me here? Ok, good. Now, look at the national unemployment rate as of 2016. While this rate dropped to 4.6% by November and “sounds” like a pretty small percentage, that is not the case at all. The U.S. hosted a population of nearly 324 million people as of July 2016. That means we had nearly 15 million people without a job!
Back to the brewery opening. In just ONE year, the craft brewing industry provided an additional 6,000 jobs to the public. Now, these are just small breweries, starting out. Imagine the number of jobs that will be created when they add on (if they have not already done so) to the existing operation, open a tap room, a pub, a bottling/canning center, and more! That is a LOT of jobs, which promises to bring down the unemployment rate even more.
When people have no job, they don’t spend money. It’s that simple. As such, the economy, both local and national, suffers. Smaller businesses begin to feel the pinch first, as their overhead is larger in comparison to big name businesses. This causes a slow chain reaction that cripples the economy and sends corporations into a tizzy when it starts to pinch their pockets as well.
See the connection now? Great. Now you begin to understand why we’re so excited about a 12% growth! If we can manage this in the craft brewery area, imagine where this trend could start next. Perhaps soon, by way of a better economy bolstered by breweries, we might start to see those awesome Mom and Pop stores show up again. We’re certainly looking forward to it, as we love to see communities thrive, one industry at a time.