New study reveals the economic impact of homebrewing

These days, nobody is surprised to hear about the tremendous impact the craft brewing industry has on the U.S. economy, but less people are aware of the $1 billion impact that homebrewing has on the economy. (Photo above courtesy of the American Homebrewers Association)

In a new report posted on the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) website, Brewers Association chief economist Dr. Bart Watson investigates in-depth the impact of homebrewing on the U.S. economy.

Among Dr. Watson’s findings: In 2015, the hobby of homebrewing—and its 1.2 million participants—created over 11,000 jobs, and resulted in over $1 billion in spending and over $700 million in revenues.

  • The model estimates the total impact of homebrewing at $1.225 billion in 2015
  • In addition, it estimates that homebrewing created 11,672 jobs in the United States

Based on American Homebrewers Association research, 815 shops sold home beverage-making supplies to the nation’s estimated 1.2 million homebrewers in 2015, with collective revenues estimated at $764 million. According Dr. Watson, that’s probably a conservative estimate for the total sales going to homebrewing for a few reasons:

  1. Retailers other than homebrew shops now sell homebrewing equipment.
  2. You can buy much of the basic equipment for homebrewing at any general retailer. And given the do-it-yourself nature of many homebrewers, some also make many of these tools from something else entirely. Many homebrewers use equipment they already have at home (think the soup pot that doubles as a brew kettle), but since those purchases have already happened they can’t be counted as new economic impact.
  3. Ingredients—both core brewing ingredients and adjuncts—often come from outside of homebrew shops. Water is an obvious one, but what about the grapefruit for your IPA or the coriander for your gose?
  4. Homebrewers spend other money in pursuit of their passion. Traveling to Homebrew Con or a local homebrewing competition. Buying fertilizer and a trellis for the backyard hops garden. Don’t believe me? Just ask a homebrewer’s significant other.

The complete analysis can be found on HomebrewersAssociation.org.


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