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U.S. Beer Industry Brews $253 Billion in Economic Activity


A newly released report highlights the important role the beer industry plays in our country’s economic activity. According to the National Beer Wholesalers Association, who released the report, the beer industry plays a vital role in the economic wellbeing of the country through generating economic activity, tax revenue and the provision of direct employment.



“It can be said that beer truly serves America. Beer is more than our nation’s favorite adult drink – it is a powerhouse in job creation, commercial activity and tax revenue,” said Jim McGreevy, president and CEO of the Beer Institute, which released the study jointly with NBWA.


According to the report, over 130,000 direct jobs are provided across more than 3,300 facilities through the U.S.  by licensed beer distributors. The report also showed that the beer industry, overall, contributed 252.6 billion to the economy, representing 1.5% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. Additionally, $48.5 billion in tax revenue was generated by the production and sale of beer and malt beverages.


In Michigan, beer wholesalers provided 4,250 direct jobs and a total economic impact of $610,612,400. The beer industry, as a whole, provided employment to over 35,000 individuals and had a total impact over $2.6 million within the state. Roughly $800,000,000 was generated in taxes, both business and personal, from the industry. Accounting for direct and induced economic impacts, the beer industry provided over 58,000 jobs and over $6.6 million in output in Michigan.


 The industry continues to grow at quite a clip, with the number of distributor jobs growing by over 20% in the past 10 years. In addition to the direct employment offered by these distributorships in the community, independent beer distributors play a key role in the community. Through partnerships, sponsorships and business-to-business commerce, additional revenue is generated within the community. 


As a beer wholesaler, West Side Beer Distributing is excited to actively provide a direct, positive impact to local, statewide and national economies.


For more details regarding the study, read the press release in full, here. Or, go to for additional and state-by-state statistics. 

Juicy, Fruity, Bold: Grapefruit Beer


The popularity of the grapefruit has ebbed and flowed over the years. Previously popular as a dieting device, the grapefruit is currently enjoying its new position as the trendy new beer flavor.



What does grapefruit bring to a beer? Juicy, bitter, citrus, sweet, sour and tart are all descriptors for the fruit. These can add a light, new layer of complexity to a beer without weighing down the liquid with too much body. Grapefruit flavors are typically paired with the IPA style to amplify the citrus characteristics of hops used. Citra, Simcoe, Mosaic and Amarillo are all complementary hops found in beers that are also brewed with grapefruit. Fresh, juicy, sweet and tart beers brewed with grapefruit can be a new way to get some Vitamin C while serving as a refreshing choice to escape the summer heat.   



Perrin Grapefruit IPA

Brewed with real grapefruit, Perrin Grapefruit IPA boasts a bright fruit aroma, with citrus notes throughout and a lightly bitter finish. 5% ABV 30 IBUs


Magic Hat Electric Peel IPA

With grapefruit peel added to the brew, Electric Peel IPA accentuates the characteristic hoppy bitterness of a typical IPA with a citrus bitter kick. A juicy nose and fruity accent notes create the full-on grapefruit effect.  6% ABV 65 IBUs


Illusive Traveler Shandy

The bittersweet grapefruit characteristics are highlighted in this craft shandy. A bright fruit aroma is swiftly followed by sweet grapefruit flavored carried in on a creamy mouthfeel with a slightly tart finish. 4.4% ABV 7 IBUs


Shiner Ruby Red Bird

Pure, Texan ruby red grapefruit is combined with ginger during the brewing process, resulting in a tart, juicy sweet and slightly spiced brew. 4% ABV 13 IBUs 


The Science behind Bud and Burgers


Legendary chef David Chang has always been a fan of the bud and burger combo.


“Both burgers and beer are experiencing a renaissance of sorts.” said David Chang, who is well-known for elevating classic dishes, and for his love of lagers. “I love that there’s nothing pretentious about the combination – it just works. A full-flavored lager brings out the taste of a savory burger.” – Anheuser-Busch



Chang is 100 percent correct that a full-flavored lager can bring out the taste of a savory burger. Alcohol, and beer specifically, work in magical, chemical ways to heighten the foodie experience. Through evaporation, molecular bonding  and penetration the beer is able to maximize the flavor potential of dishes, especially meat options like the classic American burger.


Aroma plays a key part in taste. Alcohol is a volatile chemical and it is this volatility effect that makes the aroma of beer so pungent. When used in food, the alcoholic molecules bond with water and fat molecules before they evaporate and, in doing so, helps to convey the smell of an especially juicy burger to our nose, making our mouths water and resulting in an enhanced flavor experience.


The same molecular bonding is key for bridging flavor gaps. Fat and water molecules that bond to alcohol molecules are able to not only enhance the aroma of the food but assist in creating more flavor by bridging those gaps.


Bonding with fat soluble molecules also creates the perfect situation for these flavor components to be carried into the meat for optimum seasoning. Additionally, alcohol is able to penetrate meat much better than other liquid marinade options, further increasing the opportunity for maximum flavor.


For a stellar bud braised burger, check out this recipe that incorporates onions into the mix for a savory bud and burger experience.




Cooking with Alcohol The Kitchn.

Alcohol's Role in Cooking. Fine Cooking. 


Now Distributing Ridge Cider Co.



July is chockfull of the fruit of the land, now including pints of locally harvested and fermented cider from Ridge Cider Co. Distributed throughout the Grand Rapids area via West Side Beer Distributing, the company is the result of joint efforts of Bruce Rasch and Matt DeLong to produce a hyperlocal and supremely quaffable liquid.


Based out of Grant, Michigan Ridge Cider Co. uses an orchard-to-pint approach to bring traditional hard cider to Grand Rapids. They focus on core styles that showcase the taste of West Michigan apples with a kick of hard cider in each sip. The following styles are available on draft.


Roots 5% ABV

Bright apple aroma is complemented by a pungent kick of fresh, spicy ginger



RHAC stands for Ridge Hopped Apple Cider and features a heady aroma of resiny and citrus hops, thanks to a heavy dry hopping with locally grown hops.


Cones 5.4% ABV

Made with juniper berries, which are also known as baby pine cones, Cones is a crisp and refreshing cider with a subtle hint of resinous pine and breathe of citrus.


Porch Sittin 5.6% ABV

Vanilla and cinnamon collaborate to create a nostalgic and refreshing complementary taste for this dry hard cider.


Raschberry 6% ABV

A hard cider brewed with raspberries, lending it a tart and fresh burst of berry flavor that is prevalent throughout the nose and the taste.


Peach Ridge 5.9% ABV

A fruity cider boasting crisp apple and layers of juicy, sweet peach flavor.




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