WASHINGTON—A recent report found that Virginia’s beer industry contributes more than $8.8 billion annually to the state’s economy.

Beer Serves America: A Study of the U.S. Beer Industry’s Economic Contribution in 2018, was commissioned by the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Beer Institute.

The report said Virginia’s beer business helps support nearly 56,126 jobs and accounts for $2.5 billion each year in wages and benefits.

Nationally, the beer industry “contributes more than $328 billion in economic output,” which is equivalent to 1.6 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, the study found. This economic output translates to nearly 2.1 million jobs nationwide.

The report said that for every job created in America’s brewing industry, 31 other full-time positions are generated—in wholesale, retail, manufacturing and farming.

“Virginia’s craft beer industry continues to grow and provide farmers with opportunities above and beyond what was envisioned a decade ago,” noted Greg Hicks, vice president of communications for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “Everything from hops to barley to berries and honey is part of the state’s beer industry.”

Chris Swersey, supply chain specialist for the national Brewers Association, said craft brewers today are “more connected than ever to farmers. Two of the four main ingredients in beer—barley malt and hops—are high-value specialty crops produced on family farms.”

There are two working craft beer breweries on the Eastern Shore.  The Black Narrows Brewing on Chincoteague and Cape Charles Brewery in Cape Charles.