Breweries, breweries everywhere, and so much beer to drink! It seems as though nearly every town in America has a brewery these days, suggesting that the industry must be expanding rapidly. But, is it? From 2006 to 2016, breweries accounted for more than half of the employment growth within the beverage manufacturing industry. As breweries—establishments engaged primarily in brewing beer, ale, lager, malt liquors, and nonalcoholic beer—are beginning to take up a larger share of the beverage manufacturing industry, soft drink and ice manufacturing's share has been declining. This Spotlight on Statistics examines historical employment trends for breweries and the other component industries that make up the beverage manufacturing industry. It also looks at wages, the number of establishments, prices, and injury rates for the brewing industry and compares them with similar measures for distilleries, wineries, and the soft drink and ice manufacturing industry.
More than 30,000 people worked in breweries across the United States in 2016
U.S. employment in the brewery industry exceeded 30,000 for the first time in 2013. It had remained basically flat from 2001 to 2008, before reaching its lowest point in 2010, at 24,864 employees, following the 2007–09 recession. Employment in breweries increased from 2010 to 2016, with the industry adding 58,580 jobs, a 135-percent increase. The largest 12-month employment increases occurred in 2015 and 2016, with growth rates in both years of about 21 percent.
California and Colorado lead the nation in the number of jobs in breweries
In 2006, there were only 20 states that had employment data for the brewery industry that met BLS publication standards. Among those 20 states, Colorado had the most brewery jobs (3,497), followed by California (3,022). By 2016, employment data for the brewery industry were available for 48 states and the District of Columbia. California had the most brewery jobs in 2016, (8,113), followed by Colorado (5,173). Indiana had the fastest brewery employment growth over the past decade, with 54 times the number of jobs in 2016 (1,038) than in 2006 (19). Illinois and Idaho had the second and third highest employment growth in breweries, both states having more than 10 times the number of jobs in 2016 than they had in 2006.
Breweries accounted for over half the jobs gained in beverage manufacturing from 2006 to 2016
In 2006, there were a total of 172,568 jobs in the beverage manufacturing industry. Among the four component industries within beverage manufacturing, soft drink and ice manufacturing had the largest employment, at 103,760, followed by wineries (35,899), breweries (25,864), and distilleries (7,044). From 2006 to 2016, the beverage manufacturing industry gained 61,448 jobs, over half of which (32,716) were in the brewery industry. The soft drink and ice manufacturing industry was the only component industry within beverage manufacturing in which employment declined over the 2006–16 period, losing 967 jobs.
Brewery employment accounted for 25 percent of employment in beverage manufacturing in 2016
In 2006, brewery employment accounted for 15 percent of total beverage manufacturing employment. By 2016, this share had grown to 25 percent. Conversely, the share of soft drink and ice manufacturing employment declined over the period, from 60 percent in 2006 to 44 percent in 2016. Despite this decline, however, the soft drink and ice manufacturing industry continued to have the largest employment share among the four components of the beverage manufacturing industry in 2016, followed by wineries (26 percent) and breweries (25 percent). Distilleries had the smallest share of jobs throughout the period, ranging from 4 to 5 percent.
The number of breweries in the United States increased more than fivefold from 2010 to 2016
The number of brewery establishments in the United States exceeded 500 for the first time in 2010. In 2016, there were 2,843 breweries, more than 7 times the number in 2001. The largest 12-month percentage increases in the number of breweries occurred in 2013 (38.4 percent) and 2014 (38.5 percent).
California and Colorado had the most breweries in 2016
In 2006, California had the most breweries (45), followed by Washington (27), Michigan and New York (23 each), and Colorado (22). California added more breweries (288) over the 2006–16 period than any other state, continuing to be the state with the largest number of breweries, with 333 in 2016. Colorado had the second largest number in 2016, at 204. In 2006, no state had more than 50 breweries. By 2016, 15 states had more than 50 breweries, with 10 of those states having more than 100 breweries. Only 6 states had fewer than 10 breweries in 2016, and not a single state saw a decline in the number of breweries over the period.
More than half of the new establishments in beverage manufacturing since 2006 have been breweries
In 2006, there were 4,352 establishments in the total beverage manufacturing industry. Among the four component industries, soft drink and ice manufacturing had the most establishments (1,952), followed by wineries (1,923), breweries (398) and distilleries (80). Over the 2006–16 period, the beverage manufacturing industry gained over 5,000 establishments, and nearly half of them (2,435) were breweries. Over the same period, the soft drink and ice manufacturing industry had the smallest increase in the number of establishments, adding only 17 in those 10 years.
Breweries accounted for 30 percent of all beverage manufacturing establishments in 2016
In 2006, soft drink and ice manufacturing held the largest share of establishments in the beverage manufacturing industry (45 percent), followed by wineries (44 percent), breweries (9 percent), and distilleries (2 percent). By 2016, the share held by breweries had grown to 30 percent. Conversely, the share of soft drink and ice manufacturing establishments declined over the 2006–16 period, dropping to just 21 percent in 2016. The share held by wineries remained nearly unchanged over the period. As a result, wineries held the largest share of establishments in beverage manufacturing in 2016, at 43 percent, followed by breweries, soft drink and ice manufacturing, and distilleries, which increased its share to 7 percent.
Average weekly wages in breweries decreased 25 percent over the 2006–16 period
Average weekly wages for breweries were $969 in 2016, which was below those for distilleries ($1,362) and soft drink and ice manufacturing ($1,028), but above those for wineries ($846). Over the 2006–16 period, average weekly wages in breweries decreased from $1,293 to $969, a 25-percent decline. Weekly wages for the beverage manufacturing industry as a whole were more stable during the period, ranging from $923 in 2006 to $1,045 in 2008 and $1,025 in 2015.
Employment and the number of establishments in the breweries industry increased over the period
From 2006 to 2016, the number of brewery establishments increased by 614 percent. This rate of growth was faster than that of winery establishments (112 percent) over the period, but slower than the rate for distillery establishments (744 percent). Total employment within the brewery industry increased by 126 percent over the 2006–16 period, which was faster than growth rates in both the winery and distillery industries. Average weekly wages in the brewery industry decreased 25 percent—from $1,293 in 2006 to $969 in 2016. Conversely, average weekly wages within the winery industry grew 4 percent, from $812 in 2006 to $846 in 2016; average weekly wages in the distillery industry were $1,363 in 2006 and $1,362 in 2016.
Workplace injury and illness rates in breweries were similar to those in wineries and distilleries
Since 2006, incidence rates of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in breweries have ranged from a low of 3.6 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2009 to a high of 5.8 cases in 2014. In 2016, incidence rates ranged from 2.3 in distilleries to 5.8 in soft drink and ice manufacturing.
Producer prices for beer and ale in barrels and kegs increased 52 percent over the 2006–16 period
Within the breweries industry, producer prices for beer and ale in barrels and kegs increased 52 percent over the 2006–16 period. Producer prices also advanced for bottled beer and ale case goods (29 percent) and canned beer and ale case goods (28 percent). Among the three indexes, producer prices for barrels and kegs had consecutive over-the-year increases from 2006 to 2016. Producer prices for bottled beer had consecutive increases that began in 2007, after a 0.5-percent decrease from 2006 to 2007. Canned beer producer prices declined 3.0 percent from 2006 to 2007, then rose steadily each year until 2014, before leveling off for the remainder of the period.
Erin Delaney and Matt Haines are economists in the Philadelphia regional office of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their email addresses are email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The data presented in this Spotlight on Statistics are from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII), which is part of the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program, and the Producer Price Index (PPI). QCEW data are published quarterly and measure employment and wages reported by employers covering more than 95 percent of all U.S. jobs. QCEW data are available at the county, MSA, state, and national levels by industry. The SOII program provides annual information on the rate and number of work-related injuries and illnesses. These data are published by incident, industry, occupation, and other characteristics. The PPI is published monthly and measures the average change in selling prices received by domestic producers for their output. Producer prices capture the first commercial transaction for many products and services.