Next time you sip a cold one at your favorite multi-tap Boston bar, remember you’re supporting job-security for the state’s small army of distributors.
That was the message from Beer Distributors of Massachusetts this week, post-Labor Day celebrations (and amid controversy over alleged illegal pseudo-bribery among some local booze-purveyors.)
The brewery-to-pub-and-packie industry supports more than 2,200 jobs in the state, a new nationwide study found – and that’s just part of the more than 41,000 beer-related jobs in the state in marketing and brewing the Commonwealth’s offerings of suds big-name and craft.
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“When someone buys that new craft beer they have been wanting to try, they are not only contributing to an entrepreneurial craft beer culture in Massachusetts, but they are supporting countless full-time jobs,” said Bill Kelley, president of the state’s beer delivery trade group, in a statement.
The beer industry contributes more than $5 billion each year to the state’s economy, according to the newly released Beer Serves America economic impact study, commissioned by the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Beer Institute.
Browse the aisles of any liquor store worth its weight in suds these days and it’s obvious how much the game has changed when it comes to beer. The Budweisers and Coors’ of the world now compete for taste buds with smaller batch brewers, and single bottles of high-potency specialty brews now routinely carry price tags in the double digits.
There are now more than 60 breweries operating in Massachusetts, according to the Brewers Association, and they churn out close to 400,000 barrels of craft bear every year, making Massachusetts the 14th–highest-volume beer producer in the nation.
Behind that array of choices, and the rotating taps and specially featured breweries at Boston bars are the distributors.
“Because of distribution employees who drive the beer trucks in local communities, fill the beer coolers at corner stores and deliver new tap handles to neighborhood pubs, consumers can choose from an unparalleled variety of beer,” said Craig Purser, NBWA president and CEO, in a statement. “That’s something we can all celebrate.”
Metro tried to reach a number of the state’s top beer distributors, but none returned requests for comment by press time.
Massachusetts beer distributors have come under scrutiny lately for alleged involvement in illegal, so-called “pay-to-play” schemes – deals with bars to pay for access to taps, and to exclude competitors. Last week, regulators released the findings of an investigation into one of them, called Craft Brewers Guild, which paid bar owners at five Boston bars thousands of dollars to sell their products, according to the state’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.
In a statement, Kelley of Massachusetts Beer Distributors said the trade group is “committed to an open and competitive process” and that “we expect and look forward to a balanced and fair result [following ABCC’s investigation] that brings clarity to the marketplace.”
The MBD made a similar jobs-related announcement this time last year.