Let's imagine an alternative universe. In this universe, the craft beer movement never happened. Americans still drink beer--the rise of craft brewing didn't affect per capita consumption--but they only drink macro lagers. The big debate among beer drinkers is the modern version of tastes great/less filling: no one argues actual flavor.
A sad tale, but I tell it not because that bereft alternate universe is merely lacking in good beer. It is also a universe with fewer jobs--or anyway, fewer Oregon jobs. (I'll leave the economists to calculate how many more people are employed in our universe of craft brewing; it's more, because craft breweries are way more inefficient than macro plants and require more hands--but how much more I can't say.) Oregon breweries directly employ 4,700 people. These are good jobs, too--it's cool to work for a brewery! The industry also supports thousands of other jobs, too, in beer distributorships, hop-growing, pubs, beer magazines, and bottle shops. All of which adds up to a calculated $2.33 billion contribution to the state's economy.
(No doubt effects are substantial in other states, as well.)
So on this Labor Day, salute the Oregon beer industry for supporting so many good jobs. Cheers to you--
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