The beer industry is a collective of brewers, distributors, salespeople, and other people involved in the production and sale of beer. It spans everything from multinational brewers exporting their products to numerous countries to small microbreweries focusing on local production and distribution. Like other sections of the food and beverage industry, it is subject to regulation by government agencies concerned with consistency, health, and safety in products purchased by members of the public for consumption. Numerous employment opportunities are available in this field.
Humans have been making beer for thousands of years, and a number of brewers have been in business for several centuries, developing new varieties of beer, in addition to producing and distributing regular lineups of products. The industry includes agricultural producers who grow things like barley, corn, hops, and other crops used in beer production, along with facilities where beer is produced, transporters who handle both raw materials and finished beers, and representatives who market and sell beer to the public.
The size of the beer industry varies by nation, and it tends to wax and wane in response to economic factors. Industry changes, including upward and downward trends and major regulatory moves, are often reported in the media, as they are assumed to be of interest to investors as well as the public. The performance of the beer industry may be compared with the wine industry, as the two beverages can be related and shifts in sales for one often result in a corresponding change for the other.
Brewers large and small are interested in topics like brewing specialty beers, improving production methods, and finding ways to package and transport beer while maintaining its quality and flavor. The beer industry employs scientists and researchers covering topics like flavor, food production methods, and packaging and preservation techniques. It also funds surveys and other studies on how members of the public respond to different beers and advertising campaigns, packaging, and other outreach efforts.
A number of lobbies and trade organizations represent the beer industry. These groups work with legislators, regulators, and other public officials on matters of interest to the industry, and they also engage in public education and awareness campaigns intended to provide information about beers, brewing techniques, and safety concerns such as drinking and driving. Many of these groups focus on particular sectors of the industry, such as the craft beer industry, representing the interests of specific types of brewers.