5/24/2016 9:54:04 AM
American Craft Beer Week, held in mid-May, is rapidly becoming a much bigger celebration in Minnesota. There are now 127 licensed breweries and brew pubs operating in Minnesota – up from 93 just two years prior – according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division.
The amount of craft beer produced in the state rose to 631,955 barrels in 2015, according to the Brewers Association, putting Minnesota 12th in barrel production in the U.S. For perspective, this equates to five gallons of craft beer for every Minnesotan aged 21 years and over.
Statewide, employment in the brewing sector has exploded, rising from less than 300 jobs in 2005 to 1,140 jobs through the first three quarters of 2015, according to DEED’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) data. Other than two years of decline due to the recession in 2008 and 2009, the industry has posted positive employment growth every year since 2004, the first year industry statistics were available. The growth in the past two years has been ground-breaking – the industry has essentially doubled its employment, jumping from 571 jobs in 2013 to 1,140 jobs in 2015.
Breweries were on pace to provide over $39 million in total payroll in 2015, nearly double the wages paid just four years ago, in 2011. Our office put together an article titled "Roll out the barrels" to provide a recent history of the industry’s impact in Minnesota.
The Southwest Minnesota region is home to over 10 percent of the state’s employment at breweries, and regional employment at breweries grew over 10 percent in the past year. All of this growth led the state’s tourism office – Explore Minnesota – to provide some guidance on how to enjoy a weekend on the Southern Minnesota Beer Trail.
The travel guide from the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild includes stops at the Mankato Brewery located in North Mankato, the August Schell Brewery in New Ulm (which includes brewery tours), Brau Bros. Brewing Co. in Marshall, and Bank Brewing Company in Hendricks.
According to the article, “cities across southern Minnesota are fueling the revival of the state’s brewing traditions. From small, upstart brewpubs to the second-oldest family-operated brewery in America, southern Minnesota has a delicious list of must-drink local brews.”