How important is beer to the economy?

How important is beer to the economy?

Take beer out of the equation and the Australian economy shrinks by 1 per cent.

That's the key statistic behind the Great Northern Brewing Co urging beer lovers across Australia to raise their glasses to the industry today for International Beer Day.

According to a report commissioned by the Australian Brewers Association, the beer industry contributes $16.9 billion to the economy annually, or a little more than 1 per cent of GDP.

It estimates there are 9.1 million beer drinkers across Australia, with the industry buoyed by the surge in craft brewers.

"The beer industry's contribution to our national liquidity runs much deeper than what's sold across bars and bottle shop counters," says Great Northern Brewing Co general manager Mick McKeown.

The report compiled by ACIL Allen Consulting shows that every job in a brewery creates another 26 jobs in the economy.

It says the beer industry supports 14,297 direct full-time jobs, with more than a third of those in Queensland, while beer production Australia-wide supports more than 143,000 jobs.

The biggest beneficiaries of the beer industry is the materials and packaging sector, which shares in annual expenditure of $634 million.

Marketing and sales come a close second at $530 million, while Transport and freight account for $307 million.

The industry is worth $276 million to the agricultural sector.

The amber drop has been brewed for around 7000 years, although International Beer Day has only been celebrated for the past 10 years.

The Brewers Association offers the following fun facts to share over a beer this weekend in celebration of the industry.

Ancient Egyptians built the pyramids while consuming a healthy amount of beer - about four litres a day.

Ancient Babylonians were very serious about their brewing. If a bad batch was made the brewer was drowned in it.

Vikings loved their beer so much they believed that in Valhalla they'd find a giant goat with an udder offering an unlimited supply of beer.

The Czech Republic is the beer drinking capital of the world. Each Czech drinks an average of 180 litres a year.

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