DC is tops for craft beer industry pay

Craft brewers employ 21,600 people in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. (Courtesy DuClaw Brewing Co.)

Craft beer is big business, and those working in the industry are paid well. D.C. ranks behind only New Jersey for what it pays.

The nonprofit Brewers Association’s annual economic impact report said the average wage for those employed by the craft beer industry in the District is $68,469. It is $84,830 in New Jersey.

Average craft beer industry pay in Virginia is $45,367, and in Maryland it is $48,864.

Craft Brewers employed about 1,500 people in the District, 6,800 in Maryland and 13,300 in Virginia in 2018.

The overall economic impact of the craft beer industry nationwide in 2018 was $79.1 billion, according to the Brewers Association. That includes breweries, wholesalers and retailers, as well as non-beer products like food and merchandise that brewpub restaurants and brewery taprooms sell.

The overall economic impact in D.C. in 2018 was an estimated $213.3 million, $889.3 million in Maryland and $1.71 billion in Virginia, Brewers Association data shows.

“With a strong presence across the 50 states and the District of Columbia, craft breweries are a vibrant and flourishing economic force at the local, state and national level,” said Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association.

Breweries and brewpubs directly employed more than 150,000 people in the U.S. in 2018.

As of 2018, there were 13 craft brewers in the District registered with the Brewers Association, 94 in Maryland and 236 in Virginia.

Virginia ranks 18th in the nation for barrels of craft beer produced each year, the equivalent of 1.8 gallons for every adult resident. Top states for craft brewers per capita are Vermont, Montana, Maine, Oregon and Colorado.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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