America’s beer industry, made up of brewers, beer importers, beer distributors, brewer suppliers, and retailers, directly and indirectly contributes nearly $190 billion annually to the U.S. economy according to a new economic impact study. The industry’s economic impact includes more than 1.7 million jobs — paying almost $55 billion in wages — as well as more than $36 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. The study of 2006 data was commissioned by the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA).

“This study shows that more than ever, America’s brewers play a pivotal role in promoting strong and robust economic growth throughout our country,” said August A. Busch IV, president and chief executive officer, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., and chairman of the Beer Institute. “Brewers in all 50 states have been supporting the economy in their communities for generations, creating jobs for their neighbors, tax revenue for public services, and promoting alcohol awareness responsibility initiatives for retailers, schools, and families.”

According to the study, the direct output of brewers, importers, beer distributors, and retailers into the American economy is almost $90 billion each year. The beer industry directly employs more than 900,000 Americans, paying them more than $25 billion in wages. Large and small brewers and beer importers employ 47,000 people, and the nation’s 2,750 beer distributors employ approximately 91,000 individuals across the country. Beer is a key driver of profitability for the more than 531,000 licensed beer retailers, according to TDLinx, a service of The Nielsen Company and the recognized leader in location information management. Beer sales help support roughly 800,000 jobs at these retailers, which include supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, bars, and other outlets.

The production of beer helps support other segments of the economy as well. For example, the study showed more than $4 billion in economic contributions for the agricultural sector, including malting barley ($537.8 million), hops ($280.7 million), brewers rice ($222.9 million), and brewers corn ($58.4 million).

“These figures demonstrate that the beer industry extends beyond those who make and distribute our products,” said Jeff Becker, president of the Beer Institute. “As the single largest purchaser of rice in the country and one of the leading purchasers of other agricultural goods, the beer industry’s contributions to America’s farm economy are helping support rural families and small businesses coast to coast.”