L.A. Beer Economics 101, Lager or Pilsner + Pils & Love

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Craft Beer Los Angeles

This year L.A. Beer Week turns 10. Before we get to that week+ long celebration of all things beer in our metropolis, it is a good time to gauge the impact that the 74 Guild members have on the city’s economy.

Lo and behold, the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild along with a team from the UCLA Applied Research Department, crafted an economic impact report. The analysis offers up a snapshot of “the contributions of local, small, and independent craft breweries within our region.”

As of 2017, members of the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild helped contribute the following into L.A. County:
• 90K barrels of #independent beer produced
• $61 Million in Brewery revenue
• $13 Million in State and Local Tax Revenue
• 1.8 Million brewery visitors
• $34 Million labor income generated
• 796 jobs created

That leads to the magic number of a $96 Million Total Economic Impact on the region. That doesn’t factor in the larger ripple effects such as Three Weavers collaborating on a beer with Gigantic Brewing of Portland, or local beer institution Beer Belly gaining a concession at the new LA Football Club stadium, or big events coming to L.A. like last December’s Beer Advocate Extreme Beer Fest and the Brewers Associated Paired event later this year.

For beer statisticians out there, here are some other interesting facts:
• This economic impact represents a 45% increase relative to a 2015 study by the National University System Institute for Policy Research (NUSIPR).
• There were zero reported brewery closures in Los Angeles County within the last 5 years.
• L.A. County has grown from under 5 operating craft breweries in 2009 to over 76 within the county as of April 2018.
• The Guild is projected to be home to over 80 independent craft breweries in the county by the end of 2018.

To tie a bow on how our brewers guild is affecting the Los Angeles economy, there is a theory of policing called Broken Windows, that posits that the little things like keeping sidewalks clean and properties kept up and free of the namesake broken windows is a deterrent to crime. Applying that to the L.A. beer scene, each new brewery that opens from Pomona to San Pedro takes over a vacant space and re-makes it into a hub of trivia nights, birthday parties and enthusiasts enjoying locally made beer. Most of these small businesses – if they don’t donate to community charities – become a 3rd space for the community to gather. Dry economic terminology and a number like $96 million may not register as vital so it may be better to think of the impact of brewing as simply turning an empty space into a living one.

As a bridge from what was written above to what is written below, it is time to Compare and Contrast L.A. County Brewers Guild member Eagle Rock Brewery and their German styled Amwolf Pilsner with Firestone Walker and their new-ish unnamed Lager which will more than likely be pouring at an event to put on your calendar.

The new Firestone Walker lager pours a super clear dark yellow. Very crisp and lip smacking. Good carbonation level. A slight corn taste. This beer is light and uncomplicated, but not thin. German Pilsner and North American Pale malts really lead the way.

Eagle Rock Brewery Amwolf is a much lighter yellow color. This pilsner is both wet and slick on the palate. A little sweet-tart tasting as well. Fruit in the background. More aroma in this one. Bright. A little bit metallic.

Both beers are way down on the ABV percentage with the former being 4.5% and the latter 4.8% so both are excellent choices for a drinking session.

When you mention Firestone Walker and Festival, most people think of their massively popular Invitational in Paso Robles. But they have a sneaky little festival on the side that is a bit closer that has a great list of invitees as well. On July 28 at The Propagator in Marina del Rey, they will be hosting Pils & Love. Italian brewery Birrificio Italiano started this pilsner-centric event. 40 breweries from around the world will be presenting their takes on one style of beer.

Birrificio Italiano began this tradition 10 years ago and was known as Pils Pride. The first step onto American soil was in Portland, Maine, last year and now known as Pils & Love. This year marks the first West Coast edition. Breweries such as Alvarado Street, Trumer, Monkish, Sun King and Russian River are already on board. Tickets went on sale two days ago, so act fast and get this event on your calendar.

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.


Sean Inman

Find more of Sean Inman's writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

Blog Comments

Love the breakdown of Brewer’s Guild stats. Kind of amazing how much this community does. Thanks for sharing.

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