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Monday, September 04, 2006

Here's to the Working Man

On Labor Day it's a good time to pause and remember that it takes quite a few people doing many different jobs to deliver the drinks we all enjoy. From the farmers and field hands who produce the raw ingredients, to the brewery, winery and distillery workers who convert the ingredients to lovely liquids, to the truck drivers and salespeople who make sure our favorite brands are delivered, to the retail clerks and bar staff who serve up the perfect drink. Not to mention the printers who produce the labels, bottle and can makers who create the packaging, the industry lobbyists and government regulators.

The U.S. brewing industry is a good example of the shear size and economic importance of the drinks industry. According to the Beer Institute and National Beer Wholesalers Association, there are more than 2,400 brewers and beer importers, 1,900 beer wholesalers, and 551,000 retail establishments in America today. Directly and indirectly, the beer industry employs approximately 1.78 million Americans, paying them $54 billion in wages and benefits. The industry pays over $30 billion in business, personal and consumption taxes, including $9.2 billion in excise taxes. U.S. brewers also continue to develop export markets, selling products to nearly 100 countries.

So today when you are enjoying that drink at a family barbecue, lift one to all the people who make the beer, wine and spirits we imbibe.

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