Driven mainly by craft breweries, Connecticut’s brewing industry has dramatically grown over the past eight years, according to the state Department of Labor.
Even with no large commercial breweries, employment grew from fewer than 15 in the first quarter of 2010 to 780 in December 2018, representing 63 businesses. The Labor Department said the increase is similar to that seen nationwide, where employment has risen from fewer than 25,000 in the first quarter of 2010 to 81,180 in September 2018.
“This has been helpful in a mature, slower-growing state like Connecticut,” wrote Labor Department Associate Economist Lincoln S. Dyer in the new issue of The Connecticut Economic Digest, a joint publication of the agency and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. “This exciting brewery job growth is clearly being led by the craft beer industry portion.”
Nevertheless, Dyer noted, average weekly wages for Connecticut’s craft brewery industry – including microbreweries, brewpubs, regional craft breweries and contract brewing companies – were $573 in the third quarter last year, compared with $834 at the national level. Dyer said a preponderance of part-time hours at small taprooms was the main factor in the disparity.
It is also possible that an adult recreational cannabis law could result in a similar employment increase like the 2012 craft beer law change that spurred the brewery figures, Dyer wrote, “perhaps resulting in even more job gains off a zero base. This could provide a potential new growing and taxable industry for Connecticut’s mature economy (only seven recreational states so far) and an alternative for the adults who don’t drink alcohol.
“This industry has many cross-pollinating attributes as well,” he continued, “linking to other industries, such as bakers, farmers, greenhouses, laboratories, and wellness centers. Both of these trending industries seem to attract a younger demographic.”