WASHINGTON, July 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ? Celebrating our nation's independence is a time-honored tradition, typically marked by barbeques, fireworks -- and also, a cold beer. Top Period for Beer Sales Last year, July 4th was the biggest beer-selling holiday of the year, with beer sales at supermarkets across the country topping 23 million cases during the holiday period, according to The Nielsen Company. Beer sales during this period also accounted for approximately 5.2 percent of total annual beer sales in 2007, helping generate billions of dollars in economic activity for our nation. Major Economic Contributions Rising sales of beer are contributing heftily to the U.S. economy - nearly $190 billion, in fact. According to an economic impact study commissioned jointly by the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA), the beer industry also contributes more than 1.7 million jobs paying almost $55 billion in wages annually. The production of beer helps support other segments of the economy as well. For example, the study showed more than $4 billion in economic contributions for the agricultural sector, including malting barley ($537.8 million), hops ($280.7 million), brewers rice ($222.9 million), and brewers corn ($58.4 million). Promoting Responsibility In addition to bolstering the U.S. economy, the beer industry devotes considerable time and resources into campaigns that promote the responsible consumption of its products. This summer, the Beer Institute again announced its support for a federal government social responsibility campaign called "We Don't Serve Teens" (WDST). The campaign aims to promote awareness among parents, legal-age siblings and other adults - the primary sources of alcohol for those under 21 - about the consequences of providing alcohol to minors. More information can be found at the program's site, www.DontServeTeens.gov. Due to the hard work of the beer industry, parents, law enforcement, educators, federal and state alcohol beverage regulators, and other community groups, illegal underage drinking and drunk driving have declined over the past 25 years. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the number of fatalities in drunk-driving crashes during the 4th of July holiday has declined 31 percent since 1982. In addition, according to the federal government's most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 83 percent of adolescents, ages 12 to 17, are doing the right thing by not drinking. Preventing Keg Theft As beer consumption rises during the July 4th holiday, so does the problem of keg theft. It is estimated that the beer industry loses more than 300,000 kegs each year, primarily due to thieves seeking to sell them to scrap metal dealers. Keg loss is a major financial burden for brewers and beer importers, costing the industry more than $50 million each year. "The Beer Institute has been quite successful in raising awareness about the rising cost of keg theft to local businesses and consumers. Now, we're cracking down on the problem and seeing real results," Beer Institute President Jeff Becker said. "For example, since 2007 nearly 30 states have passed keg loss or scrap metal legislation to prevent theft." Brewers are also reminding retailers and bar owners to exercise vigilance this holiday weekend, and secure any loose kegs on their property. The complete Beer Serves America Economic Impact study, including state-by-state and congressional district breakdowns of economic contributions, is available at the Beer Serves America Web site, www.beerservesamerica.org. 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