NYC brewery industry is thriving

More stations are expected to get wireless and cellular service this year.
More stations are expected to get wireless and cellular service this year. Photo Credit: WebCrims

The burgeoning Big Apple brewery industry is thriving, according to data from the New York City Economic Development Corp.

In 2012, city microbreweries employed about 213 people, an increase of 16% from 2009. Payroll for those breweries totaled more than $6 million in 2012, a 30% jump from 2009, the EDC said.

Jeremy Cowan, the president of the New York City Brewer’s Guild and the founder of Shmaltz Brewing Co., said several local breweries have opened in the city within just the past year, including Other Half Brewing and Queens Brewery.

“It shows how vibrant craft beer is right now, even in a city like New York where small manufacturing is harder than ever,” Cowan said.

“Brewers are really willing to take risks and make investments in a challenging environment.”

The trend is statewide: Paul Leone, the executive director of the New York State Brewers Association, said craft beer has a $2.2 billion impact on the state, the third largest in the country.

Breweries contributed 61,930 brewing, distribution and retail jobs throughout New York State, according to a 2013 report compiled by the Beer Institute, the national trade association for the industry, and the National Beer Wholesalers Association, a lobbying group.

Part of the growth can be attributed to legislation passed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in 2012 that encourages independent New York breweries to use ingredients grown within the state. The goal of the legislation is to expand the state’s agricultural industry, as well as economic development and tourism.

According to data from online ticketing website Eventbrite, New York was the second fastest-growing state for hosting beer events, up 56% from 2010 to 2013.
Cowan said that while craft beer has been around for more than 30 years, it has finally become truly mainstream.

“It’s now unacceptable to open a new restaurant without a great craft beer selection,” he said.