Spend Your Tax Return Locally

Advocate This by | Apr 2008 | Issue #15

Whether it’s from filed taxes or the President’s stimulus package, some of us in the US will be lucky enough to get a return on our 2007 taxes this year. We’re sure many of you have already spent your projected returns—at least in your heads—but consider something different this year. Forget trying to clear your debt. Forget buying Guitar Hero III. Forget that 42-inch high-definition plasma. And forget tucking it away for a rainy day.

This year we’re urging everyone to spend all, or a portion of, your tax rebate on your local beer scene.

Why? Aside from the fact that you love beer, with increases in hops, barley, wheat, metal, glass, fuel and other commodities that are impacting all facets of the beer industry, it’s essential that we help stimulate our local beer scenes with some good old-fashioned cold hard cash.

According to beerservesamerica.org:

The US brewing industry includes approximately 2,000 brewing related establishments and importers, 2,700 distributor establishments and 530,000 retailer outlets. Numerous other businesses—including farmers, packaging manufacturers and advertising agencies—depend on the industry for their livelihood. Approximately 47,000 Americans work for the nation’s large and small breweries and importers, taking home $4.1 billion a year in salaries and wages, along with additional millions in benefits. Over 90,000 people work for distributors and over 800,000 work for retail outlets that sell beer. Directly and indirectly, the US brewing industry employs 1.7 million Americans. These workers earn $55 billion in wages and benefits.

That’s a lot of people helping to keep the beer flowing to our mouths, and there are lot of ways we can all support them. This doesn’t mean that you have to stop buying your favorite imported or non-craft domestic beers. We’re simply suggesting is that you set aside your tax return specifically for spending it locally. Here are some tips:

Brewpubs & Breweries
Visit your local brewpub or brewery, explore their beers, take the tour, take home a growler of beer too, because not only will the beer be extremely fresh, but you’ll also be tempted to bring the empty back for a refill.

Bars & Stores
Spend your returns at beer bars and stores known to support local brewers. Many local beers are also cheaper than domestic or foreign imports and have a higher chance of being fresh. Plus, the more local beer purchased, the more these places will stock them. Many proprietors are also open to consumer suggestions, so encourage bars or stores in your area to carry local beer if they don’t.

Beer Dinners & Fests
A growing number of brewpubs, restaurants and beer bars host beer dinners. They’re usually co-hosted by a local brewer and provide a great array of beer-and-food pairings, education and an ideal introduction to beer for newbies. Same for beer fests that directly support the local beer scene. Spread the good word of beer and offer a great opportunity to expose you and your friends to a wide selection of local beer.

Homebrew & Brew-On-Premise (BOP)
Buy your ingredients locally versus online. Instead of ordering from a company thousands of miles away, swing by the closest homebrew shop and show them your support. Or get your friends together, pool your returns and head down to your local BOP where they’ll help you select a recipe, brew and bottle a batch of beer.

There are roughly 75,000 of you who will pick up this issue of BA mag. If each one of you spent $250 of your return on local beer, that would equal nearly $19 million injected back into local beer markets. Something to consider.