Monday, September 05, 2011

Happy (Beer) Labor Day

On September 5, 1882, the New York City Knights of Labor organized the first parade honoring New York's workers. Two years later, they voted to make it an annual event. Over the next ten years some thirty states across the US followed New York's lead and declared a day to honor laborers with parades, fairs, barbecues, and picnics. In 1894, an act of Congress finally declared the first Monday of September to be a federal holiday, and President Grover Cleveland signed it into law: Labor Day — dedicated to America's work force.

Today, on the commemoration of this most egalitarian of American holidays, let us also remember our brothers and sisters who labor to make ... our daily beer.

Mash man

For every 'rock star' of the 'craft beer' industry, for every well-paid manager or CEO of a major beverage (fermented or otherwise) conglomerate, there are thousands of American brewery employees who labor earnestly for much less recognition and recompense. And, there are even millions more of American workers, who, associated with the beer industry, either directly or tangentially, comprise, as a whole, a vital part of the US economy. In 2010, the brewing industry accounted for:
about $223.8 billion in output or 1.5 percent of GDP. American and international brewers, along with their wholesale and retail partners, directly or indirectly employed approximately 1.84 million Americans in 2010. These workers earned almost $71.2 billion in wages and benefits. Members of the brewing industry and their employees paid $33.5 billion in direct federal, state and local taxes. In addition, the consumption of beer throughout the country generated $5.3 billion in federal and state excise taxes, $4.9 billion in state sales taxes, and almost $682.2 million in other beer-specific local taxes.

The Beer Institute
Economic Contribution Study

This beer's for all of you. Have a happy Labor Day.


  1. Obviously, that guy's a rock star!

  2. The photo was taken at the Oxford Brewing Company, in Linthicum, Maryland, in 1995. The brewer (rock star?) was Joe Marunowksi, seen here digging the mash out of the mash/lauter tun.

  3. Wow - Beer's a pretty big chunk of the US economy! Let's support it!


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