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Beer industry blames Trump’s tariffs for loss of 40K jobs

Beer industry blames Trump’s tariffs for loss of 40K jobs

A new report on the beer industry ahead of the summer drinking season, plus the resurrection of an ancient Egyptian brew

Last week, the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association released their Beer Serves America economic report on the nation’s beer industry.

The timing is intended to mark Memorial Day as one of the top beer-selling holidays of the year and the beginning of the summer beer-selling season.

According to the study, the U.S. beer industry supports more than 2.1 million local jobs in a wide range of industries, including farming, manufacturing, construction, and transportation in every community across the country.

“For every job in a brewery, another 31 jobs are created in other industries.”

The Beer Institute says America’s beer industry contributes more than $328 billion to the economy with 7,000 active breweries and over 3,000 distributors. Brewers and beer distributors employ more than 200,000 people.

The report indicates that the industry has seen the loss of over 40,000 jobs, and the industry is blaming President Donald Trump’s tariffs.

“Aluminum tariffs are increasing brewers’ costs and are an anchor on a vibrant industry,” Beer Institute President Jim McGreevy told The Hill in a statement. “Each brewer is deciding for themselves how to absorb that expense, whether it’s raising prices, laying off workers or delaying innovation and expansion, all of which hurt a vibrant job-creating industry.”

After the administration slapped a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports in March 2018, the cost of getting the metal to the Midwest more than doubled, according to Bloomberg News, which first reported on industry insiders blaming President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs for the loss in jobs.

However, other factors may be at work.

Total cases of beer, wine and spirits consumed in the U.S. dropped 0.8% in 2018, the third consecutive year of declined, according to a report from IWSR, which studies the beverage market. The main culprit is the beer slump, with consumption down 1.5% as more drinkers gravitated to spirits and wine.

Breweries interested in featuring a specialty drink may be interested in the research of an Israeli team, which managed to resurrect the beer of the ancient Egyptians.

Israeli scientists say they have recreated the taste of ancient beers that the Philistines and Egyptians drank as much as 5,000 years ago.

The research began with shards of pottery used to produce beer and mead in antiquity, which still had yeast specimens stuck inside. The scientists examined the yeast colonies that settled in the pottery’s nano-pores, and were ultimately able to resurrect the yeast to create beer.

“The greatest wonder here is that the yeast colonies survived within the vessel for thousands of years, just waiting to be excavated and grown,” said Ronen Hazan, a microbiologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “This ancient yeast allowed us to create beer that lets us know what ancient Philistine and Egyptian beer tasted like. By the way, the beer isn’t bad.”

There is ample evidence that the ancient Egyptians loved their beer. One prominent temple featured a “Porch of Drunkenness” . . . which would be the name of my bar, should I ever decide to open one.


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Let them use glass bottles instead. Har Har.

Well if they would stick to just making beer instead of adding stupid things in it like chocolate and hot peppers, maybe they would sell more beer. Also, if they would stay out of politics, too.

The main culprit is the beer slump, with consumption down 1.5% as more drinkers gravitated to spirits and wine.

Says it all. Stop blaming Trump and start thinking about marketing. This is economics 101.

The Friendly Grizzly | May 26, 2019 at 10:12 am

MarkSmith: variation on that theme: male a beer that’s drinkable. Most of it is swill. I’m not some import snob, nor does my beer have to be “crafted” at some yuppie place. I just want beer, but not one of the major brands is worthy of the name anymore.

    Try Yeuling (I believe that’s the way it’s spelled). I find it to be a great beer without a lot of the bitterness that most other brands seem to have.

    Yuengling is, but it’s not distributed nationally. Whenever I go to Ohio, I bring cases back fr friends. We got hooked on it at a Toledo Mud Hens game.

      I love Yuengling! I used to be a huge Pete’s Wicked Ale fan, so when they went belly-up, I had to find another decent brew, and that fit the bill. I don’t drink much beer these days, but when I do, I like Yuengling very much indeed. 🙂

        Wrathchilde in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | May 26, 2019 at 11:55 pm

        I did an IT job very close to the Yuengling brewery in PA, but we were so busy working 20 hour days that I didn’t get a chance to visit and do the brewery tour.
        We did make some massive deposits to their retail sales dept, though.

    I believe all the major brands are owned by foreign corporations. One possible reason for less beer consumption is the kneeling at the NFL, many quit watching these over privileged millionaires disrespect and ingratitude.

If they want to sell more beer, they should try just making beer. When I go to the supermarket, I see lots of brews with lemon, or orange, or freaking blueberry in them. THAT’S NOT BEER!

    Wrathchilde in reply to irv. | May 26, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    It’s called an aspic. Belgian monks have made them in various flavors for hundreds of years. Of course, the fact that they like fruity beer may be why they’re monks, just saying.

    If I’m in the mood for a beer, I generally stick to Guinness, or Smithwicks. I prefer a good single-malt, though. It’s hard to mess up a wee dram of Talisker, or cask-strength Lagavulin.

      Tiki in reply to Wrathchilde. | May 26, 2019 at 5:32 pm

      It’s a pilsner with fruit flavor. That’s what it is.

      These ain’t Monks we’re talkin’ ’bout, and it ain’t aspic.

maybe the states cracking down on drunk driving might have something to do with it, Utah if you are over .05 you are considered drunk, other states are also considering it.

    bw222 in reply to ronk. | May 26, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    40 years ago when we went from Dayton to Cincinnati for a Reds game, we’d take a “traveler.” Times have changed.

While I’m against President Trump’s trade protectionism and mercantilism, in the end, it’s harmless, as spending on cheap imports from China accounts for 1.6% of US consumer spending. The focus on putting our needs first, however, is greatly appreciated and is a welcome change in Washington D.C. The beer industry will just have to get over it.

After the administration slapped a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports in March 2018, the cost of getting the metal to the Midwest more than doubled…

Either Math changed a lot lately, or there is lot of details missing.

I quit drinking alcohol 3 years ago next week, so blame me. President Trump’s economy (sorry 0bama, it’s NOT yours) has created millions of jobs so if the beer industry lost 40,000 it’s not his fault!

    murkyv in reply to Dave. | May 26, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    I was just going to blame myself too.

    Last drop of alcohol was Oct, 10, 2015.

    Before that…let’s just say I had more than my share

    rabidfox in reply to Dave. | May 26, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    As Exalido above points out: their math is chancy so I don’t really trust their 40,000 jobs lost metric either.

    Arminius in reply to Dave. | May 26, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    I don’t drink as much as I used to. But on Memorial Day I consider it my duty, on behalf of those who are no longer around to hoist one for themselves.

    Maybe I’m coming across as making an excuse. You would be wrong.

    I would, if it was in my power, to pen a tribute to the men and women who went before me in the armed services. Suffice it to say that lil’ old me, Seventh Fleet Sailor, spent enough time with the 2nd Infantry on the DMZ to gain entry into the VFW.

    2nd ID, second to none.

    Should you non drinkers not mind, I’m going to hoist another one in the memory of the friends I’ve buried.

    And keep the beer industry alive.

    bw222 in reply to Dave. | May 26, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    Part of the problem is the near monopoly. InBev and a couple of other multinationals control all the major brands.

    It also could be that people started looking beyond the slick marketing and realized how bad Budweiser tastes.

“Aluminum tariffs are increasing brewers’ costs and are an anchor on a vibrant industry,” Beer Institute President Jim McGreevy told The Hill in a statement.

Perhaps Jim McGreevey could explain the low price of scrap aluminum then? Scrap prices are half what they were 5 years ago. Or maybe, he’s lying.

Bad math aside, which Exiliado and TempeJeff brought up, here’s another example of the left complaining that (gasp) higher taxes have a negative affect on the economy.

When a company sees a tax increase, it becomes just another expense. They pass on the cost, including a little extra to maintain the same profit margin. At each stage of the producer to retailer chain the same concept is used, ending up with a consumer price much higher than the original tax would suggest. However, Exiliado and TempeJeff are correct to point out how out of phase the brewer’s argument seems. Doubling of material costs in a poor scrap environment doesn’t make sense.

    txvet2 in reply to bear. | May 26, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    “”Doubling of material costs in a poor scrap environment doesn’t make sense.””

    I read recently that it’s more expensive to reprocess scrap aluminum than it is to just mine and process (or import) the new stuff. At least some of it has to do with all of the garbage that has to be separated out of it before it can be recycled. Maybe the tariffs will help change the dynamic, but it still means that aluminum prices would be going up.

      ronk in reply to txvet2. | May 26, 2019 at 12:58 pm

      I read just the opposite a long time ago, so maybe the process to mine aluminum is easier now.

      puhiawa in reply to txvet2. | May 26, 2019 at 1:26 pm

      Isn’t true. Producing aluminum from ore is a very expensive process and it uses vast amounts of electricity. A can from scrap cost the industry less than a cent. The scrap is purchased at $.05 per can. Although Reynolds will also buy by the pound and pay more.

        txvet2 in reply to puhiawa. | May 26, 2019 at 4:00 pm

        Well, just something I came across awhile back in an article specifically discussing whether recycling is cost effective. I don’t pretend to vouch for its accuracy.

rustyshamrock | May 26, 2019 at 12:19 pm

Perhaps at your “Porch of Drunkenness” bar, you could incorporate a “Balcony of Debauchery” as well!

maybe high cost to make aluminum (lot of power needed, windmills won’t cut it) in country plays a part?
dunno, never looked much into the supply chain so just a thought.

All the local craft breweries around here seem to be in the throes of expansion.

Then there’s the cider makers. I live in an apple producing area, and can’t recall any cideries existing in 1997 when I moved here. A google search just now brought up a map with 3 I didn’t know about, but didn’t have the 4 I did know about.

There’s lot’s of craft beer and beer alternatives out there, they’re employing people, and making alcohol concoctions people want to drink. Me? I drink wine, mostly. Never developed a taste for beer. Can’t stand the hops taste.

    txvet2 in reply to gospace. | May 26, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    I remember in my tender yute when the truck came around in the fall with a big barrel on the back. We used to take out our own jugs to fill up. Modern cider, with pasteurization and processing doesn’t taste anything like it.

      gospace in reply to txvet2. | May 26, 2019 at 1:04 pm

      You can get fresh, unpasteurized minimally processed non-alcoholic cider around here in season- but it doesn’t ship out; it stays local. I vaguely remember that when I was a kid hard cider was a bootleg item not available in legal commerce… Almost everyone knew someone who could get some… There’s at least a dozen brands and who knows how many flavor variations in local grocery stores now.

      Granny in reply to txvet2. | May 26, 2019 at 3:11 pm

      He means hard cider. It has become quite the thing in some areas, particularly those that produce apples. There are almost as many varieties of hard cider at my local supermarket as there are beer.

I think this is political propaganda. I haven’t noticed a price change in beer, and I buy it regularly.

A can of beer might cost about 70 cents. The aluminum in that can costs less than 0.25 cents (I have done work for a canning company, but it was 30 years ago). A 10% increase in the price of Al is not going to be noticed in the price of beer.

    RobM in reply to InEssence. | May 26, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    You haven’t noticed?? That 3 years ago 6 packs were around $7 and now you can’t find them under $9 unless it’s a holiday sale. At least where I live. 12 packs go for $17.. a case is $22 or higher. Usually between .09 and .13 / ounce. I always buy whats on sale anymore. Maybe it’s just here.

      bw222 in reply to RobM. | May 26, 2019 at 5:12 pm

      I looked at beer at Kroger today in Michigan. Budweiser, Miller Lite and Coors were selling for $15.99 for 24-can cases. Low-end Hamm’s was $13.99 for a 30-can case. Pabst was $15.99 for a 30-can case.

        RobM in reply to bw222. | May 26, 2019 at 10:31 pm

        Dang! Yeah, you guys are about $4 less per for a case , for even on sale down here…. in Texas. I’d almost consider moving to Michigan … almost.

      txvet2 in reply to RobM. | May 26, 2019 at 5:21 pm

      Taxes, maybe? Californians wail about the high cost of gasoline. The biggest difference between their around $4.00 a gallon gas and my $2.15 gas is government.

This is total horse pucky.

According to the Beer Institute ‘BI’ and the National Beer Wholesalers Association [NBWA] just the opposite is true. Brewery and wholesale employees actually increased between 2016 and 2018. [full report]

In the first place, the brewing industry only employs ~70,000 people and report states that this figure is actually UP from 2016. The same is true for wholesalers. so exactly where is this 40,000 employee reduction occurring? There was a decline in retail beer sales, mostly for on-premise consumption, which may have contributed to reductions in retail employees. Of course, that reduction may also be attributable to the employees leaving for better paying jobs in expanding industries. As we see rising employment in production and wholesale aspects of the industry, I don’t really see how the Trump aluminum tariffs caused a reduction in retail sales.

    BKC in reply to Mac45. | May 26, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    Obviously, you don’t understand the sophisticated economics math/models being employed to derive these numbers. (And by “derive”, I mean “make up”). The technique actually originated in Congress many years ago in their budget deficit calculations, and more recently has been co-opted by climate scientists.
    For instance, a few years ago our State (TX) Climatologist used the latest in regional climate modeling to estimate the effect of global warming on our temperature over the last 100 years or so. Even though the actual measured temperature has stayed the same or decreased slightly over that time period, his model showed that it should be much cooler. Really.

      bw222 in reply to BKC. | May 26, 2019 at 5:17 pm

      Maybe they had Brian Stelter and his buddies from CNN “derive” the numbers since they have lots of experience at making stuff up,

        dunce1239 in reply to bw222. | May 28, 2019 at 1:40 am

        i suspect they used calculus (derivatives), a form of higher math, to get the figures they wanted, or they just plain lied as usual.

    Barry in reply to Mac45. | May 26, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    “This is total horse pucky.”

    Yes. Total. Horse shit.

    Thanks for pointing it out. These people are just crony capitalists supporting the narrative. Truth doesn’t matter to them.

    BKC in reply to Mac45. | May 26, 2019 at 11:55 pm

    Some more info in support of your thesis “this is horse pucky”:

    40K out of 2.1 mil is 1.8%. Many of the employment numbers in the report are estimates. If they are within 5% of the real number, I would be surprised.

    Beer sales are down 2.4% over 2016, but brewing jobs are up 8%. They attribute it to the growth of micro breweries. The total employment decrease is apparently due to a decrease in retail employment, which includes retail stores, hotels, restaurants, etc. But it’s the cost of aluminum causing the problem? Riiight.

    About 40% of the price of every beer is federal, state and local taxes.

    There is no mention of the cost of aluminum/cans in the report. According the The Hill article, Beer Institute president Jim McGreevy blames the tariff on aluminum for the (alleged) reduction in employment. I wonder, is he a Democrat or Republican?

Keep in mind; AmBev, a international conglomerate, has bought up a significant about of the US and International beer lines. How nice for TheHill to write a piece with a slam at Trump. Beer consumption is down… the youngers like spirits and the over 50 crowd likes wine. The folks that like beer, like myself and Justice Kavanaugh, enjoy the explosion of small craft breweries. We’ve had 2 open in our suburb in the last 2 years and there are a dozen in the bigger area.

I still drink store-bought stuff when it’s on sale, but the biggest kill to beer prices, was ethanol mandates. Drove the prices up about 10-15%. Maybe that was Ambev buying then too, but.. in my memory, everything grown went up after that.. as farmers switched to corn.

All sounds a bit bogus. I haven’t bought any alcohol in decades, but I do occasionally buy aluminum. Have yet to notice any seismic disturbance in the market.

    You’d think if it’s down to the cans (“It’s the cans! He hates the cans!”-the Jerk), the soda market would be crashing, too. Where are Coke and Pepsi freaking out about the cost of cans? Or any increase in those prices? I’m not a name-brand buyer on soft drinks, but I know for a fact that “store brands” like Chek have not increased in price at all for at least the eight years I’ve been in Florida. /just saying

      Arminius in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | May 26, 2019 at 4:56 pm

      It would be nice, but probably not necessary, for you to learn about me that I don’t require anything from you.

      Except maybe that when it comes out on live streaming or disc you watch

      I should have messaged this days ago.


      gospace in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | May 26, 2019 at 5:06 pm

      I hate the cans. Soda is best in glass, plastic next, and worse in cans. After it’s been on the shelf for a while, it’s very easy to tell the difference between bottled and canned soda.

      I presume the same is true for beer. Except I’ve never seen beer in plastic. I do know people who swear it’s better on tap than either. But then, birch beer or root beer from a keg is also better where you can get it…. especially birch beer.

        gospace in reply to gospace. | May 26, 2019 at 5:10 pm

        And despite all the soda makers saying it makes no difference whatsoever, soda with cane sugar is superior to soda with high fructose corn syrup. Very unfortunately, I’ve had to give both up, and now drink soda with aspartame. All the other artificial sweeteners are BLECH! Since Diet Pepsi is now made with potassium acesulfame, if I’m I’m at a place that serves Pepsi products instead of good stuff, I drink water.

        Plastic, to me, is the worst after aging on a shelf. I bought some tonic that I swear must have become toxic after too long on the shelf. It tasted truly awful, and as much as I hate alcohol abuse, I had to pour a whole gin and tonic (along with the rest of that horrific bottle of tonic) down the drain. It was foul beyond foul.

        I wish they’d bring back glass. I think the trend is shifting that way, but not fast enough for me. (This goes for beer, soda, booze . . . all of it is better in glass.)

          Arminius in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | May 26, 2019 at 7:21 pm

          George Washington used curse words when crossing the Delaware. And he told Harry to shift his f** A** in no uncertain terms.

          I think having been one for 20 years and given the fact that our first President swore like one I can, on occasion, swear like a Sailor.

      Good point.

      Arminius in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | May 26, 2019 at 5:32 pm

      Barry, I suspect, calibrated me correctly.

      I’m terribly sorry if I puzzled you, Fuzzy.

      Actually I like you.

I don’t know just what will constitute TMI.

True; most American beer is p***water. But you can thank prohibition for that. When you were happy for what you could get.

These days I busy myself making wine. I can make better beer than you can buy but I don’t bother making carbonated drinks. It’s like going for extra credits when you don’t need them.

As an aside:

He lived through the experience. I will always be grateful to him.

I am responsible fro a few of those jobs. I was diagnosed as diabetic and can no longer drink beer so there is much less demand of beer.

“the U.S. Army. what is love 4ht cag funny”

A picture is worth a thousand words, Fuzzy. I wish I could come up with a picture. Of how we would shut down the engines on the Tomcat and the left engine on the Tomcat was left with the turkey feathers wide open.

The funny part was we could shut down the engines with the cans wide closed.

Then we’d get a ten year old asking us about it.

Unless you are willing to pay a premium price, there are far fewer brands available. Think of the national and regional brands that no longer exist:(some still are brewed by Pabst): Schlitz, Schmidt, Stroh, Schaefer, Reingold, Blatz, Carling, Old Style, Hamm’s, Olympia, Ranier, Grain Belt, Gobels, Pearl, Flstaff, Drewy’s to name but a few.

Two words. Recreational Marijuana

As a scientist, I am trained to come up with at least 5 alternative explanations that can tested as well.

Another 2 word explanation. Box Wine

Our local markets now have stacks of 5 liter boxes. The packaging says that they last up to 6 weeks in the fridge, but I suspect most are gone in 2 or 3 days.

Sports Protests. Dang, 2 words again

Sports and beer go together. People are watching less sports, hence drinking less beer.

So in about 5 minutes I came up with 3 equally plausible, no, make that 3 more plausible reasons for beer sales to be down than trumps tariffs.

DieJustAsHappy | May 26, 2019 at 9:15 pm

Us Boomers could put it away. However, we’re dyin’ off and these youngsters just can’t hold their liquor. Plus, some of them are in their 30’s and they still haven’t been weaned yet!

    Arminius in reply to DieJustAsHappy. | May 26, 2019 at 11:45 pm

    Oh, go tell your grandma.

    Actually that was my code for when I would go out on liberty and I’d wonder if I wanted to embark on an adventure.

    “Do I want grandma reading about this in the papers?”

    I don’t know if I was born lucky but my grandma liked hearing the s*** I did on liberty. She died one day after she turned 100 y.o. because she was one stubborn old bird who was really hard to surprise.

    She went into a coma the week before she turned 100 and we kept telling her that she had made it. She could let go. But she knew who she was dealing with. She didn’t believe a word we were saying.

    “Tony Romano — Santa Lucia”

    I don’t know what I would have done without my grandma laughing with me, at me, and telling me to take risks because life sucks when you get old.

Or maybe people are guzzling less beer and choosing more interesting beer and drinking it slow enough to taste. Maybe more people are going back to work, and I have less time to hang around and drink.

Whatever, if Trump cured cancer the headline would be “Trump kills jobs for surgeons!!”

I thought I was getting a book. Instead I got a two DVD set. Which is nice.

This is what the atom bomb saved me from.

The most essential factor affecting the taste of beer is freshness. Beer just doesn’t travel well. Even when you load your trunk with your favorite beer and take it across the country.

When I lived in Boston, Samuel Adams beer was just getting started. Founder Jim Koch used to promote the beer by emphasizing freshness. Even a non-beer drinker could taste the difference. Sam Adams beer was clearly superior mainly because it was fresh.

Most beer is consumed by “heavy users” who will down 12-20 beers at one sitting. They used to account for more than half of beer sold in the US (per a case study in college). It isn’t about taste with that crowd, it’s about advertising.

I wonder if people who fall in love with a local beer somewhere and start having it shipped interstate even notice that they quality is left behind? The Sam Adams beer here in CA doesn’t taste anything like the one I remember from Boston. That’s probably why they added those awful flavored beers.

BTW, possibly the best beer I ever tasted (and I’m practically a teetotaler) is the non-alcoholic Zero Zero from SF. You can really taste the hops. Nothing else like it.