Beer Industry Contributes $8.2 Billion to Illinois Economy

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

A new economic impact study shows Illinois’ beer industry, made up of brewers, beer importers, beer distributors, brewer suppliers, and retailers, directly and indirectly contributes $8.2 billion annually to Illinois’ economy.

Commissioned by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) and the Beer Institute, the study shows that the industry generates nearly 71,981 jobs in Illinois – which accounts for over $2.8 billion in wages and benefits.  The industry also contributed $1.6 billion in the form of business, person, and consumption taxes in 2010.

According to the study, the beer industry directly employs 43,054 people in Illinois, paying them over $1.2 billion in wages.  The 97 beer distributors in Illinois employ 3,348 people.  Large and small brewers and beer importers employ nearly 1,100 people.  Beer sales help support roughly 38,637 jobs at licensed retailers, which include supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, bars, stadiums, and other outlets.

“As independent businesses, Illinois’ licensed beer distributors are proud to provide quality jobs with solid wages and great benefits to employees in Illinois “said Jim Doney, president of Chicago Beverage Systems and chair of the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois (ABDI).  “Beer distributors are deeply rooted in their local markets, so it’s only natural that they work hard to keep their communities safe – especially by fighting underage drinking and drunk driving.”

“Independent distributors provide Illinois consumers with tremendous choice and variety – nearly 5,000 different labels of beer – at a great value,” added ABDI President Bill Olson.   “Illinois’ three-tier regulatory system, which separates the ownership between brewers, distributors, and retailers, provides transparency and accountability in the collection of taxes and the sale of beer.  This time-tested, effective system of control, in which Illinois’ beer distributors play a critical role, works to ensure alcoholic beverages are sold only to licensed retailers who in turn are responsible for selling only to adults of legal drinking age,” continued Olson.

Nationally, the beer industry directly and indirectly contributes more than $223 billion annually to the U.S. economy and provides more than 1.8 million jobs – generating nearly $71.2 billion in wages and benefits.  The industry also paid $44.7 billion in business, personal and consumption taxes in 2010.  Consumption taxes included $3.6 billion in federal excise taxes and $1.7 billion in state excise taxes and $5.9 billion in state and local sales taxes.

In addition to strengthening the U.S. economy, the industry plays a vital role in promoting responsible consumption of its products and the prevention of underage drinking and drunk driving.  ABDI has developed two programs to address the prevention and consequences of underage alcohol consumption.   “The bookletTalking to Teens About Drinking, which was developed in partnership with the Illinois Principals Association, assists parents, teachers, counselors, and coaches to encourage open communications with children about underage drinking,” said Olson.  “Additionally, Straight Talk About Drinking” flyer is provided to Illinois high schools students during prom and graduation time to explain the myths and misconceptions about drinking.  Both the booklet and flyer are provided free of charge.”  These efforts, along with those of parents, law enforcement, federal and Illinois alcohol beverage regulators, educators, and other community groups, have helped contribute to declines in underage drinking and drunk driving for nearly three decades, according to government data.

The Economic Impact study was conducted by John Dunham & Associates based in New York City and covers data compiled in 2010. The complete study is available at Beer Serves America,

The Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois (ABDI), a not for profit business trade association, represents, maintains and improves the interests of its members who distribute beer of all brewers. ABDI advocates value in the state-based regulatory system by being the unified voice for beer distributors on legislation and regulation, by promoting responsible beer consumption and by providing educational and other services to meet its members’ needs.  Distributors are licensed by the State of Illinois to import and distribute beer to licensed retailers.   For more information about ABDI, go to