DURHAM, N.C. — The beer industry is proving to be a successful one nationwide, including here in North Carolina.
The recent 2022 Beer Serves America report finds that the U.S. Beer Industry supports nearly 2.4 million local jobs. On top of that, it contributes more than $409 billion to the economy.
In North Carolina specifically, the report said it’s supporting more than 75,000 jobs, which can be anything from distribution jobs, manufacturing jobs and agricultural jobs. In addition to this, the industry is adding more than $12.8 billion to the state’s economy.
Jordan Ullrich, a malt production manager, at Epiphany Craft Malt, says she’s not surprised by these numbers, and that it’s great to hear how the industry is opening so many doors for people.
“I think it creates a real opportunity for people to learn, especially more about agriculture. I do think that gets left behind a lot. A lot of people forget that farmers produce a lot of our food, if not all of our food,” Ullrich said.
Ullrich says she worked at a malt house in Asheville for about two years before making her way to Raleigh. She’s always loved craft beer and knew she wanted to get into the industry.
“I really like the plant wheat and barley as plants, I like the agronomy side of things. I like working with the farmers, I like being able to go out in the field and help them manage the fields to make malting quality grains because it’s very hard to do in this region,” Ullrich said.
She admits that being a "maltster" is hard manual labor, and it’s not for the faint of the heart, but the job is worth it.
“I think most folks don’t recognize malt as an essential part of the beer process. I think they hear hops, hops are like the big thing, but you can have hop water but you can’t have beer without malt.,” Ullrich said. “We want to support all of our local brewers as much as possible and our local farmers, that’s really our goal of being here is to create the bridge between the local farmers and the local brewers and to stimulate that local economy in the Raleigh area, as well as the state of North Carolina.”