The craft brewing industry in New York generated billions of dollars to the economy last year, that’s from a study by the New York State Brewer’s Association. The report measured jobs, wages, and taxes associated with the growing brew bang.
Paul Leone, Executive Director of the New York State Brewer’s Association says, “I started this job in 2013, and there were 135 breweries, now there are 434.”
Paul Leone says New York is second in the nation for craft brewery growth behind California, and with that has come a boon for the economy. “We just did an economic impact study, and we’re at a $5.4 billion impact,” says Leone.
That factors in suppliers, wages earned, and taxes paid out. Monroe County has 26 craft breweries on tap, one of them is the new Sager Beer Works. Another contributing money factor? Tourism. Paul Guarracini of Sager Beer Works in Rochester says, “Beer tourism is bigger than you might think, typically on weekends and the summer.”
Almost nine million of New York’s 48 million craft customers last year were tourists. But the perpetual driving force according to Leone? Millennials. The younger generation is stepping away from standard beer brands. “They care about where their food comes from and where their beer comes from.”
Also helping these local breweries is the “craft act”, signed in 2014 by Governor Cuomo. It allows producers to sell by the bottle and glass, and have greater production of more beer with fewer fees, among other benefits. Craft beer is still only 12 percent of the entire beer market, so “big beer” still wins…for now. Leone says what could upend that is the neighborhood connection. “These are local businesses, these are all owned by people that live in your community,” he says.