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Beeronomics: The Financial Impact Of Beer In Utah

Brewing industry claims over a billion dollars of total economic impact in the state
Salt Lake City (ABC4 News) - Despite a large Latter-Day Saints population and the most restrictive alcohol laws in the nation, the golden beverage is an billion dollar gold mine for the state of Utah according to a study released by the Beer Institute.

In a report called "Beer Serves America" the brewing industry trade group claims that beer has a total economic impact of $1,029,172,800. That includes brewers, distributors, retailers, supply-chain partners and related industries.
The combined economic impact of brewers, distributors, retailers, our supply-chain partners and induced industries - See more at: http://www.beerinstitute.org/br/economic-impact/economic-impact#sthash.SWvFeKGG.dpuf

"There are tons of places in town that brew their own beer, that bottle it," beer drinker Brian Price told ABC 4 News. "They've grown pretty rapidly too, places like Epic, so it's not all that surprising but it's still a pretty high number."

There are 41 brewers and wholesale distributors operating in the state in addition to the 1,681 licensed bars, pubs and restaurants.

Bridget Gordon owns the Green Pig Pub on 400 South in downtown Salt Lake City.

"I have 40 employees in this little place," Gordon said. "4200 square foot building with a rooftop patio and the main floor and I have 40 employees so that's a lot."

The "Beer Serves America" study claims beer provides 10,630 jobs in Utah with a total tax contribution of nearly 180 million dollars. ABC 4 Utah's Rick Aaron spoke to one bar owner who said those numbers could be much higher.

"Oh It could be double or triple without a doubt," said Shawn Graham, owner of Lokal's in Saratoga Springs. "The biggest thing is the restrictions that the DABC and the State puts on licensing. That is one of the biggest things that I see is going on is the problem."

The economic numbers are impressive but they do come with a cost. According to a report by the Centers For Disease Control, binge drinking costs the state of Utah $1.4 billion a year when you add up lost productivity, healthcare, criminal justice and other effects. That's not all beer but alcohol is the most abused substance in the state according to the CDC and an estimated 100,000 Utahns need substance abuse treatment.

The " Economic Costs of Excessive Alcohol Consumption in the U.S., 2006" report says that each drink consumed in Utah costs the government $2.74 in societal costs. That's the highest in the entire nation.

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