Craft beer industry brews up stout economic benefits

The craft beer industry in Colorado brews up not only popular beverages, but also a stout economic contribution to the state.

According to the results of a study conducted by the University of Colorado Business Research Division, the craft brewing industry generates $446 million in annual economic benefits.

That total includes nearly $102 million in income and more than $179 million in total employment effects.

“Colorado craft brewing creates a dynamic impact on the Colorado economy,” said John Carlson, executive director of the Colorado Brewers Guild (CBG), a trade association promoting the craft brewing industry in the state.

“Explosive growth continues to have a huge economic effect on the state, with no sign of slowing down,” Carlson said.

Collectively, the 139 licensed craft brewers in Colorado employ nearly 6,000 people. “Craft brewers are on a double-digit growth trajectory, and the potential for new job creation is expected to climb even higher,” Carlson said.

The industry contributes an additional $9 million annually in a special beer excise tax unique to Colorado brewers.

Carlson said the industry is well-positioned for growth in part because of a regulatory system that fosters the success of independent brewers.

“With 139 craft breweries and more on the way, we are the envy of the nation when it comes to brewing up a dynamic beer culture,” said Dave Thibodeau, president of the CBG and founder of Ska Brewing in Durango. “CBG brewers are the catalyst for creating an electric beer culture, while contributing to entrepreneurial activity and spurring beer tourism throughout the state.”