Study: Beer Industry Has Huge Impact In Larimer County

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Breweries in Fort Collins bring jobs and money into the local economy. Now a study at Colorado State University tells how big an impact the beer industry actually has in Larimer County.

Keeping the beer flowing from Fort Collins takes a lot of workers. The study shows there are nearly 1,000 people working at six stand-alone breweries in Fort Collins.

“At a brewery like this there’s so much potential to move up,” Matt Jaspers with the Tap Room said.

Jaspers has been working in the Tap Room and giving tours at Odell Brewing Company for almost a year.

“Growing up in this town where we did have Odell Brewing Company and New Belgium for years and years now is kind of like the pinnacle of ‘if you could work for one of those breweries that would be awesome,’ ” Jaspers said.

The study shows that while many industries have been struggling, breweries are bringing important balance.

“It’s been really important in that way to kind of lessen the blow of the recession,” Martin Shields with the CSU Regional Economics Institute said.

Shields studied data from six breweries, including small micros, larger craft brewers and the giant Budweiser brewery and found that in 2010 the breweries directly added $83 million in payroll to Larimer County. Over 10 years the brewery industry grew by more than 22 percent compared to just over 6 percent job growth for other industries.

“We’ve got this important growth engine that’s helped stabilize the economy in some pretty tumultuous times,” Shields said.

“I love seeing the employment numbers because what we’re able to contribute to the community in terms of solid employment and good jobs for people is significant to us,” said Wynne Odell, Odell Brewing CEO.

Odell says beer production in the past 5 years has increased 12 percent a year.

“We’re on target to grow 14 percent on volume. So pretty healthy growth. We only target for 10, so we’re running a little hotter that we planned and very happy to be there,” Odell said.

And what’s good for the breweries has been good for the economy.


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