TULSA, Oklahoma – A new study shows the beer industry grossed the Oklahoma economy billions of dollars over the past year.
A Study on Beer Serves America said the beer industry supported more than 17,000 jobs in Oklahoma last year and had an economic impact of $ 2.9 billion.
While local breweries have been hit by the pandemic, they are now recovering.
“It would have been a lot darker for us without the community we have here,” said Jonathan Neff, CEO and chief brewer at NEFF Brewing.
Tables in local breweries are filling up, but this wasn’t the case last spring when taprooms closed due to COVID-19.
“In March our sales began to decline,” said Neff. “We closed our taproom completely for the month of April while we focused on expanding our distribution.”
Neff said they had to reorganize their business last year and were able to survive thanks to the start-up of their canning line.
“As brewers, we have to be all-rounders and know how to do all kinds of things,” said Neff. “So it was natural for us to just adapt to the environment and say okay, let’s change our business model, let’s focus on sales.”
It was a similar case with American Solera. When the taproom was closed, food was served by the roadside and on the terrace. Now that the doors are open, they’re seeing a year-over-year increase in sales.
“Things really turned the corner for us in late March and late April,” said Chase Healey, co-owner of American Solera. “In the last few months we have seen an increase in sales of 30, 40 percent compared to last year in the same months. So we’re very optimistic, to say the least. “
Now that life is slowly returning to normal, local breweries can get back to their taprooms. Neff Brewing had higher serving numbers in May than in 2019.
The congregation will find a place where they can meet again.
“We want to be a place where families can come, where friends can meet,” Healey said. “I think that has changed in the beer space, where breweries are less concerned about getting their products into shops, restaurants and more, even the ultimate destination for the people they come to.”
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