The Alabama Brewers Guild has completed its 2013 survey of the Alabama-based brewing industry. With 94% industry participation, the study shows that the brewing industry in Alabama has experienced triple-digit growth each year since 2009.
Participants paid taxes on 19,301 barrels of beer in 2012, up 118% from the previous year. In addition, the breweries and brewpubs participating in the survey directly employed 85 individuals at the end of 2012, up 204% from the previous year. Both categories have seen more than 100% growth annually since 2009. Brewpubs were asked to only include employees participating in beer production, not restaurant staff.
Jason Wilson, Founder of Back Forty Beer Company and President of the Alabama Brewers Guild responded to the results. “It is clear that the craft brewing industry in Alabama has flourished in an otherwise stagnant economy. Right now, our largest concern is growing to meet demand.”
According to Dan Roberts, Executive Director of the Alabama Brewers Guild, the brewing industry in Alabama really began to flourish in 2009 with the passage of the Gourmet Beer Bill. “Small breweries thrive by innovation. Before the law changed in 2009, breweries were prohibited from producing many high-quality and experimental beer styles. There are twelve breweries and brewpubs operating in Alabama right now. Ten of those businesses were created after the laws started changing in 2009.”
Since 2009, other restrictions on beer production have been eased. Roberts continued, “When the current Alabama Code was written in 1975 it simply did not account for microbreweries, but the situation is improving.” Wilson points to a 2011 change that allowed limited on-site sales at production breweries. “These tap rooms are essential in fostering the relationship between brewers and their community.” In addition to local support, microbreweries and brewpubs often serve as prominent tourist attractions for the areas in which they operate.
The explosive growth is expected to continue as the Alabama industry catches up to the national craft beer sector. The study projects a conservative estimate of 38,944 barrels in 2013, up 102% from last year. In addition, the breweries and brewpubs participating in the survey project that the industry will directly employ 189 professionals by the end of 2013, up 122% from last year.
Company: Alabama Brewers Guild
Contact: Dan Roberts