After two ill-fated legislative proposals that would have been detrimental to the state’s burgeoning craft brewery industry disintegrated within days amidst a public outcry, the Connecticut Brewers Guild is conveying its eagerness to work closely with state lawmakers. Their aim: to help the booming industry create even more good-paying jobs, bolster local craft beer production, and to increase direct-to-consumer sales.
“In 2012, when the Connecticut Brewers Guild was founded, there were around 12 craft breweries statewide,” said Phil Pappas, the executive director of the Connecticut Brewers Guild. “Now, our state’s booming craft brewery scene has more than 85 operational breweries with many more in the planning stages. These craft breweries — all of which are independently owned — employ over 4,600 people statewide, produce more than 166,000 barrels of locally brewed craft beer, and contribute to an overall economic impact of $746 million annually.”
It is those numbers, and the degree of progress in recent years, that drive the conversation, although Pappas points out that although a lot of progress has been made, there is more work to be done to ensure the industry continues to grow and thrive statewide. On doesn’t need to look further than the map of the COnnecicut Beer Trail to see the impact of the industry all across the sate.
“Connecticut’s growing craft beer industry has been helped by state lawmakers providing a relatively healthy regulatory environment,” Pappas said. “We thank state lawmakers for their support to date, and now more than ever — in an increasingly competitive state-by-state landscape — we need a renewed commitment to strengthen our industry, which is a bright spot in Connecticut’s economy.
“Moving forward,” he added, “we hope to work with state lawmakers and others to create even more local jobs, increase local craft beer production, and drive additional direct-to-consumer sales.”
In 2015, MarketWatch—a financial information website—ranked Hartford/New Haven as one of 10 cities that love craft beer the most. Other cities included Portland (Oregon), Cleveland and Washington, D.C. A year ago, Innovation Hartford reported that 2016 data indicated the craft beer industry in Connecticut contributed $718 million to the economy. That year there were 49 breweries that produced a combined 129,825 barrels of craft beer per year. A year ago, there were 65 breweries operating throughout the state and another 49 breweries are either in the planning and construction phases or set to open shortly.
“We also look forward to working with representatives from the wholesaler, distributor, retailer, brewpub, and restaurant communities, to positively impact our state’s small businesses and economy both today and tomorrow,” Pappas said. “Our Connecticut Brewers Guild members strive every single day to produce the highest quality, best-tasting craft beer in the market. We consistently seek out ways to improve our product, utilize locally sourced ingredients, generate jobs, support local businesses while cultivating fun experiences for customers on-premise and off-premise.”