Economic Development Impact of the Craft Brewing Explosion, part 1

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Although I have spent most of this summer identifying, defining, and describing places in North Carolina that are not faring well, there are a couple bright spots in our state that I want to highlight. In 2006, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation that allowed for beers of higher alcohol content to be brewed in North Carolina, up to 15% alcohol by volume. In 2013, North Carolina legalized the sale of 64 ounce growlers by the craft breweries. In 2012, North Carolina allowed breweries to terminate a distributor contract without good cause. All three of these factors led to a craft brewery explosion in North Carolina because it gave breweries the freedom to operate a business without the worry that they were going be subject to legal issues that are found in other states and often inhibit their growth.

The Beer Institute claims that the craft beer industry has had a large impact on the North Carolina economy. It estimates that in brewing, there were 1,347 jobs leading to $103,015,400 in wages. In distribution, there were 4,070 jobs leading to $236,006,700 in wages. In retail, there were 21,063 jobs leading to $510,845,700 in wages. The Beer Institute claims that the total economic impact of these jobs and wages in 2014 was over $3.8 billion. The Beer Institute also points out that the beer industry in North Carolina paid out over $323 million in taxes in 2014 and generated over $2 billion in taxes that same year. ( (PDF)).

Craft breweries can be found in the larger cities of Asheville, Raleigh, Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem, but it is much easier to see the impact of the craft brewing scene in the small towns. A perfect example of this is my hometown, Fuquay-Varina. Fuquay-Varina sits in southwest Wake County and is home to three (soon to be four) microbreweries. The largest of these breweries, both in square footage and income, is Aviator Beer Co. Aviator, which opened in 2008, was the first microbrewery to open in Fuquay-Varina and the second in southwest Wake County behind Carolina Beer Company of Holly Springs. Since Aviator opened, two more breweries have made homes in Fuquay-Varina: Draft Line Brewing opened in 2014 and Lincoln Brewery opened in 2015.

Posted by Maxwell L. Gregson on Mon. August 17, 2015 3:26 PM
Categories: Student Research
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