The business of craft breweries has contributed a thousand new jobs to Montana and increased the state’s population by about 300 people, according to a report recently released in the Montana Business Quarterly, a publication of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. The Bureau’s research on the impact of breweries on the state’s economy finds that from 2010 to 2015, breweries increased production by 87 percent, while sales increased by 111 percent, and employment ballooned by more than 200 percent.
Its report, “The Continuing Economic Impact of Craft Brewing in Montana,” collected data from 61 of 71 breweries in the state and followed up on two previous reports in 2010 and 2014.
The growth of the industry “has been remarkably steady and shows no signs of slowing down,” said the report, written by Nate Hegyi. Last year, Montana brewers directly accounted for $46 million in gross sales, 702 jobs and $13.2 million in employee compensation and benefits. A total of $17.6 million in capital investment is currently being planned for 2016 and 2017 – up from an estimated $9 million planned for 2014 and 2015.
In 2015, Montana’s craft brewers produced over 163,000 barrels of beer. Researchers extrapolated that “each craft beer sold at a local brewery contributes $9 to businesses and $2.95 in Montana resident personal income, and every6 11,000 pints sold equals one new job in the state.”
In 2010, 38 percent of vendor purchases by breweries came from within the state. By 2015, that number grew to 48 percent, totaling $19.8 million in spending directly to Montana businesses. The state’s agricultural sector is benefiting as well.
The industry success impacts other industries as well. Beer needs yeast, barley, hops and sometimes fruits and honey. In 2014 and 2015 around 36 percent of these products were purchased within the state, totaling $1.4 million and $1.6 million in expenditures respectively.
Employment in Montana has also benefited from the rise in craft brewing, adding $35.6 billion in wages, salaries and benefits to the state’s economy. And each new job in the brewing sector has an average earning of $34,111.

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