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Craft Breweries Pour Dollars Into Pennsylvania's Economy

East End Brewing
East End Brewing in Pittsburgh's Larimer neighborhood was among the city's first to embrace craft brewing culture when it started selling beer in 2004. Brewers now make 30-40 different beers a year.

Although summer is the peak season for tourism in Pennsylvania, industries like craft brewing are pushing revenues well into the fall. 

The Brewers Association of Pennsylvania reports the industry is now four times larger than it was eight years ago, from 88 members in 2011 to 356 in 2018.

Carrie Fisher LePore, the state's deputy secretary for marketing, tourism and film, said craft beer alone has created more than 10,000 jobs and now generates an annual $2.2 billion in wages and benefits, according to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. 

The Pittsburgh area is capitalizing on that popularity with hyperlocal marketing campaigns, she said. She pointed to Butler County, which built its own "beer circuit" encouraging guests to visit 10 nearby breweries and fill up their "passport to hoppiness." A full passport can then be turned in for a prize.
Breweries also bring more economic stability, she said.

“They’re moving into bigger buildings, because it’s a lot of equipment, so it’s often in the postindustrial part of town where maybe there was an old manufacturing facility,” she said. “They’re rehabbing the building, and they’re also creating a reason for people to visit that part of the town.”

90.5 WESA's Megan Harris and Kiley Koscinski contributed to this report.

Read more Pittsburgh Business Report stories here