DENVER, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2006, the state of Colorado officially became the largest beer producing state in the country, according to newly released data from the Beer Institute. The Colorado brewing industry produced over 23.3 million barrels or 724.5 million gallons of beer. This makes the state tops in production, edging out second place California and other large states such as Texas and New York. A recent study commissioned by the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) also found that the beer industry, made up of brewers, beer importers, beer distributors, brewer suppliers, and retailers, directly and indirectly contributes $12.4 billion annually to Colorado's economy. The industry's economic impact includes 67,918 jobs - paying $3 billion in wages - as well as $1.6 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. "Colorado is tremendously important to the beer industry and produces a number of high quality brews enjoyed by adults around the country," said Jeff Becker, president of the Beer Institute. "With a strong beer culture and a rich brewing history, it's no surprise the state has become number one." "The beer industry has been a positive force in our state for many years, providing a number of important economic benefits including good jobs and a steady source of revenue for our local communities," said United States Senator Ken Salazar. "We're extremely proud to be the nation's leader in beer production and share this great product with the rest of the country." "As a state widely recognized around the country for our natural beauty, rich history, and extensive cultural attractions, we're pleased to now also be known as the beer brewing capitol of the United States," added Colorado Governor Bill Ritter. "Colorado breweries are also increasingly using and producing renewable energy, which is good for the industry, good for the environment, and good for developing more home-grown sources of energy." Colorado is also home to other major industry trade groups such as the Brewers Association, based in Boulder, representing America's small brewers since 1942. The state also plays host to the annual "Great American Beer Festival" in Denver. "In addition to housing many long established large brewers, Colorado is also leading the way among small, independent craft brewers," said Charlie Papazian, founder and president of the Brewers Association. "We invite beer lovers from every state to visit us and sample firsthand some of the many fine varieties of craft beer produced here." The state's wholesalers also serve an important role delivering product to communities far and wide. "Colorado's beer distributors are local, independent family businesses that help provide a wide selection of fresh, quality beer to retailers ensuring consumers enjoy a great beer experience," added Steve Findley, president of the Colorado Beer Distributors Association. The brewing industry also takes its role as good neighbor seriously in the towns and communities across the Rocky Mountain state, playing a significant role in promoting responsible consumption of its products and protecting and improving our natural environment. Brewers, importers, and independent beer distributors have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in communities across the country to develop and implement numerous programs to promote responsibility and help fight alcohol abuse. These efforts, along with those of parents, law enforcement, federal and state alcohol beverage regulators, educators, and other community groups, have all contributed to declines in illegal underage drinking and drunk driving over the past two decades, according to a variety of independent and government data. Brewers and beer importers have also devoted great resources towards the development of energy and water conservation techniques, reusing byproducts and waste, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, establishing comprehensive recycling programs, and supporting environmental organizations around the country. For more information about beer's economic impact in Colorado, please visit www.beerservesamerica.com or www.beerinstitute.org for a complete list of state production rankings. The Beer Institute, established in 1986, is the national trade association for the brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as importers and industry suppliers. The Institute is committed to the development of sound public policy and to the values of civic duty and personal responsibility: www.beerinstitute.org.
SOURCE The Beer Institute