Friday, August 9, 2013

This weekend, celebrate true job creators- MAKERS OF BEER!

Yes, it's that weekend again here in Madtown, as the 27th Great Taste of the Midwest happens tomorrow, and for the 6th straight year, I will be there. Almost as impressive is what's going on tonight in Madison, with the Great Taste pre-parties at numerous bars. It seems like this has doubled compared to last year, and downtown's going to be a total madhouse as a result. You bet me and 3 buds coming up from Hoosierland will be in on it.

And it fits that the pre-parties have jumped, because so has the craft brewing industry the last few years. The Denver Post has a great rundown on the industry's double-digit growth.
Craft-beer dollar sales and volume were up 15 percent and 13 percent, respectively, through June, according to the nonprofit trade association. During the same period last year, sales and volume were up 14 percent and 12 percent. The sales growth comes amid a continued swelling of the craft-brewing ranks. Through the first half of 2013, there were 2,483 craft breweries in the United States, 20 percent more than in the first half of last year. Additionally, there were 1,605 breweries in planning at the end of June.
So if you put the two numbers together, that means sales up 31% the last 2 years, and volume was up 27%. Not shabby in the least.

And as this chart from the brewers association shows, there are over 500 more breweries in the U.S. than there were in 2011, to the point that we now have more breweries in America at any time in the last 125 years. And give a big thank you to Jimmy Carter for deregulating the industry in the late '70s!

Wisconsin certainly has played a role in this revival, as this handy-dandy interactive display shows the state ranks in the top 10 nationwide for number of breweries, total production, and production per capita.

While Wisconsin's growth leveled off in 2012, it looks like it's back in growth mode, as I see several new names at the Old Fashioned every time I go there, or at other fine drinking establishments in this town. This includes the brand-new Pecatonica Brewery and their Nightfall- a tasty lager I sampled last night.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin knows where true job creation comes from (unlike many of the corporate slime that pollute D.C.), and has asked for a excise tax break for small brewers, to help them get into the business and incubate as they start out. At the state level, I'd go the other way, and would rather raise the beer tax on macrobrewers, which not only raises revenue for the state, but also reduces some of the price advantage the big guys get from economies of scale. Miller/Coors/SAB doesn't need our help, but folks starting up their dreams might, and I can't think of many other industries worth helping more than something many of us actually use and enjoy, like beer.

So hope to join you around the Square tonight, or at Olin-Turville this weekend during this great Summer weekend, and raise it up for the true job creators- the makers of great beer!

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