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Beer Research Guide: Industry Research


There are many ways to learn more about the brewing industries. This section of the guide will provide resources and tips for using publications, professional organizations, economics, and NAICS and SIC industry codes. 

Take a look at the variety of sources and topics you would find in a library catalog search for the subject term "Beer industry." 

Historically, professional organizations have been an important facet of the brewing industry in America and in other countries. They gather data, advocate and support members, set standards, and work with the government on regulations. You can look for historical and present-day information for regional brewers guilds, national or international brewers' associations, or the professional associations of allied industries (e.g. the Hop Growers of America, European Union Hops Commission, American Malting Barley AssociationMaltsters' Association of Great Britain, American Homebrewers Association). 


undefinedDr. Theresa McCulla is a historian of the 19th and 20th centuries in the United States. She is also the curator of the American Brewing History Initiative at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. McCulla talked to Tiah Edmunson-Morton on Zoom on May 14, 2020 about her research on food in New Orleans and beer history in the U.S. McCulla shared her strategies for starting, conducting, and tracking research (talk to librarians and archivists, be a careful note taker, ask for writing feedback); thoughts on material culture and oral histories as sources; thoughts on collecting contemporary history; and emerging research opportunities as a result of recent digitization projects. 


Professional publications (books, magazines, journals) are good sources for researching industry trends, technologies, production, and demographics from the historical and modern eras. The library and archives at OSU has a robust periodical collection, including popular magazines such as All About Beer and Zymurgy, academic journals such as Wallerstein Laboratory Communications and Journal of the Federated Institutes of Brewing, conference proceedings from the American Society of Brewing Chemists, and important issue based publications such as the Anti-saloon League year book (1908-1931) and texts about alcohol produced during Prohibition

Useful library databases for general industry research are: 

  • Business (Gale OneFile)Provides coverage of all business disciplines, including accounting, economics, finance, marketing, management and strategy, as well as business theory and practice. Users will understand the activities of companies and industries worldwide through business and trade publications, complemented by a selection of international, U.S., and regional news publications.
  • Business Insights: Global (Gale): Detailed company and industry profiles including SWOT reports, market share reports, and financial reports. Thousands of company histories and industry essays from Gale's core business collection. Case studies, scholarly journals, and business news for deep research coverage of global economies. Also includes Thomson Reuters company financial reports providing interactive balance sheets and cash flow statements, as well as market conditions for publicly traded U.S. companies.
  • Business Source Premier (EBSCOhost) Coverage: 1886 - present: Business Source Premier provides full text for nearly 3,300 scholarly business journals, including full text for more than 1000 peer-reviewed business publications. Coverage includes virtually all subject areas related to business. This database provides full text (PDF) for more than 300 of the top scholarly journals dating as far back as 1886. This database is updated on a daily basis via EBSCOhost.


There are library databases with government and legal information: 

  • Nexis Uni features more than 15,000 news, business, and legal sources from LexisNexis (including U.S. Supreme Court decisions dating back to 1790). 
  • ProQuest Congressional is a comprehensive online collection of primary source congressional publications and legislative research materials covering topics, including government, current events, politics, economics, business, science and technology, international relations, social issues, finance, insurance, and medicine. Finding aid for congressional hearings (published and unpublished), committee prints, committee reports and documents from 1824-present, and the daily Congressional Record from 1985-present. Compiled legislative histories from 1969-present. Full text access to the U.S. Statutes at Large, which is the official compilation of all public and private laws and resolutions passed by Congress, listed in order by date of enactment from 1789-present.

The government agency that oversees the sale of alcohol is the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. ATT has a specific portal for beer resources, which includes required documents (Brewery Records, Reports, and Returns) and statistics from 2008 - 2019

Alcohol Law Review is a moderated discussion board with information about pertinent developments in alcohol regulation and litigation. It is intended to facilitate a dialog about current alcohol law cases, legal challenges, and issues around the country. It is moderated by the Vice President for Industry Affairs and General Counsel for the National Beer Wholesalers Association, and features guest columns from experts in alcohol law.


There are renowned beer economists at OSU! 

The Beeronomics Society is an international non-profit association of scholars and professionals analyzing the economics of beer and brewing. Their site has links to conference events and publications. 

Want to read more?

The Tremblays co-authored a book on the U.S. Beer Industry (Tremblay, Victor J., and Tremblay, Carol Horton. The U.S. Brewing Industry: Data and Economic Analysis. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2005.)

Tremblay, Victor J., and Tremblay, Carol Horton. Industry and Firm Studies. 4th ed. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 2007.

Johan F. M Swinnen wrote The Economics of Beer in 2011.

Do your own searching in the library catalog and Google Scholar.


Published annually by the Federal Government since 1878, Statistical Abstract of the United States is the best-known statistical reference publication in the world. It is a comprehensive collection of statistics on the social, political, and economic conditions of the United States. 

The Economics and Demographics That Drive the US Beer Industry is a paper given by Lester Jones, Chief Economist National Beer Wholesalers Association, at the 2019 Hop Growers of America conference. He includes data from 2008 - 2018 on topics such as consumption, demographics, and sales. is the home of the U.S. Government’s open data. You will find data, tools, and resources to conduct research, develop web and mobile applications, and design data visualizations. Datasets found for "beer." 

The Brewers Association, described in the Professional Organizations box below, also tracks statistics and data

Contact your state's liquor control commission, they are an agency that would track production, sales, and taxes. 


The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is an international consortium of more than 750 academic institutions and research organizations. Among other things, ICPSR maintains a data archive of more than 250,000 files of research in the social and behavioral sciences. It hosts 21 specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, and other fields. They also archive and disseminate census data

WWW Virtual Library: International Affairs Resources is an Internet directory of over 2000 annotated links to high-quality English-language sources of information and analysis in many international and global studies topics. Sites are carefully selected for their long-term value, favoring those with cost-free, authoritative information and analysis online.

United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Division has an online central repository of country profiles of statistical systems. Country profiles include a brief history of the country's statistical system, legal basis, and the statistical program.

UNdata brings international statistical databases together. Users can search and download a variety of statistical resources compiled by the United Nations (UN) statistical system and other international agencies. The numerous databases or tables collectively known as "datamarts" contain over 60 million data points and cover a wide range of statistical themes including agriculture, crime, communication, development assistance, education, energy, environment, finance, gender, health, labour market, manufacturing, national accounts, population and migration, science and technology, tourism, transport and trade.

Country Statistical Yearbooks: provides links to country statistical yearbooks or similar collections (census, "facts and figures," etc.) for 154 countries worldwide. (Guide from University of Wisconsin Madison Libraries)

Vanderbilt University guide to International Business Data and Statistics


undefinedDr. Bart Watson is the Chief Economist for the Brewers Association. Watson talked to Tiah Edmunson-Morton on Zoom on May 8, 2020 about his doctoral research in Political Economics, ways he uses government and trade associations research to inform his work, how he thinks about competing markets (cannabis, wine, hard alcohol) and trends, the importance of context for research and data, and sources he still consults in physical formats. 


The Brewers Association (BA) is a not-for-profit trade association for brewers. More than 5,400 U.S. brewery members and 46,000 members of the American Homebrewers Association are joined by members of the allied trade, beer wholesalers, retailers, individuals, and associate members. Because it is a membership organization, there are sections of the web site that is for members only; I've only included information that is freely available. 

The American Society of Brewing Chemists was founded in 1934 to improve and bring uniformity to the brewing industry on a technical level. Today, ASBC is comprised of individual and corporate members worldwide representing breweries of all sizes, the allied industries that supply the brewing industry, academic researchers, government agencies, and organizations associated with regulation of the brewing industry.

The Master Brewers Association of the Americas was formed in 1887 to promote, advance, and improve the professional interest of brew and malt house production and technical personnel. Today, there are more than 4,000 members in 25 different districts from more than 50 countries throughout the world. It is a global community working to advance the brewing, fermentation, and allied industries by advocating the exchange of knowledge; creating, assembling, interpreting, and disseminating credible and beneficial information; developing world-class education offerings; and providing valuable personal and professional development opportunities. They are a non-profit organization.

The Beer Institute is a national trade association for the American brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as importers and industry suppliers. The organization was founded in 1862 as the U.S. Brewers Association and reorganized as the Beer Institute in 1986. They represent the beer industry before Congress, state legislatures, and public forums across the country, focusing on public policy, community involvement, and personal responsibility. Like the Brewers Association, this is a membership organization and there are sections of the web site that is for members only; I've only included information that is freely available. 

The National Beer Wholesalers Association provides leadership to the independent beer distribution industry; advocates before government and the public; encourages the responsible consumption of alcohol; and provides programs, services, and data.   

  • Their site has current data on growth and demographics; reports on impact, economics, and compensation; and resources related to trade policies, electronic commerce, beer terms and recipes, green technology.

What about brewers associations outside the United States?


Relevant NAICS and SIC codes for this industry: 

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. You can look up additional codes at

  • 445310 Beer, Wine, and Liquor Stores: This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in retailing packaged alcoholic beverages, such as ale, beer, wine, and liquor.
  • 312120: Breweries: This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in brewing beer, ale, lager, malt liquors, and nonalcoholic beer.
  • 722410 Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages): This industry comprises establishments known as bars, taverns, nightclubs, or drinking places primarily engaged in preparing and serving alcoholic beverages for immediate consumption. These establishments may also provide limited food services.

The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) is an industry classification system in which all Federal economic statistics are based on up to 1996. Use this site to do a keyword search to find an SIC code for an industry.

  • SIC 2082 Malt Beverages (except malt extract)
  • SIC 5181 Beer and Ale (beer and ale sold via retail method)

It is important to know these codes in order to retrieve statistical information produced by the Census as well as search certain databases by these codes. Once you have these codes, you can look up businesses on Mergent Online, which is a subscription-based service offering information on approximately 15,000 NYSE, AMEX, and NASDAQ companies. Information available for companies include details about the company, executives, financial information, reports, and competitors.

The service also provides data on 20,000 non-U.S. based corporations. Company information comprises that of all of the Mergent/Moody's Manuals except for the Municipal & Government Manual. Annual and quarterly financials date back 15 years, annual reports date back to 1996 or 1997, and SEC filings date back to 1993. Information available for each company includes: company history, business, property, subsidiaries, officers, directors, long-term debt, bond ratings, capital stock, income statement, balance sheet, statements of cash flow, exchange and ticker symbol, address, telephone number, annual stock price ranges, trustees, registrar, transfer agent, stock splits, dividend payment history and more.

You can use NAICS and SIC codes to find industry reports from First Research, which provides unlimited access to an online library of profiles on over 900 industry segments. This research tool features in-depth, up-to-date information. Profiles are comprehensive and include:

  • Condensed industry profile overview in addition to the traditional full profile overview
  • The competitive landscape
  • Products, operations and technology
  • Finance and regulation
  • Regional and international issues
  • Human resources
  • Labor statistics


Where do brewers learn to brew? 

  • Universities
  • Certificate programs
  • Family 
  • Professional guilds 
  • Professional association and clubs
  • Apprenticeships / mentors
  • Home brewing
  • Publications / newsletters

"Brewing Schools, institutions of higher learning that offer programs designed specifically for aspiring brewing professionals. They provide formal practical and theoretical training in those branches of science and engineering that are relevant for beer making on a commercial scale in a modern brewery. People have brewed for at least 8,000 years, but brewing schools, perhaps surprisingly, are a phenomenon of only the past 150 years. Before that time, brewers essentially learned their craft by doing it and were often taught by family members."

Siebel Institute of Technology is North America’s oldest brewing school and was founded in Chicago as John E. Siebel’s Chemical Laboratory by John Ewald Siebel in 1868.

Wahl-Henius Institute of Fermentology is a brewing research laboratory and school in Chicago that operated between 1886 and 1921.

Brewing Science and Beverage Technology at the Technical University of Munich in Weihenstephan.

  • In 1021, Weihenstephan was established by Benedictine monks as an abbey and beer brewery. Commercial beer brewing commenced in 1040, making Weihenstephan reputedly the oldest continuously operating brewery in the world. When the Benedictine Abbey ceased in 1803 and the property was taken over by the Bavarian State Government, it became the founding location for the Agricultural and Brewing College. Later, in 1907, the Weihenstephan research brewery was established. From The Oxford Companion to Beer definition of


OSU Food Science and Technology Fermentation Sciences: the Fermentation Science program, one of just a handful in the nation, is a “hands-on” applied science addressing the use of microorganisms as processing agents in the production of wine and beer, as well as a variety of other fermented foods such as cheese, yogurt, soy sauce, pickles, breads and fermented vegetables.

UC Davis Food Science and Technology Brewing: the primary research focus at UC Davis reflects the changing needs of the brewing industry (and related industries. The specializations cover issues of real pertinence to maltsters and brewers and primarily focus on quality of product from both industries.

The Brewers Association maintains a list of brewing education programs, including Pro Brewing Schools, 4-Year Degree Programs, Associates & Diplomas, and Certificate Programs. (a section of the BA) also has a list of online and in person beer schools