Cheese Stands Alone
tasty statistics: cheese versus beer
Sure, beer is what made Wisconsin (or at least its biggest city) famous. But in nearly every objective category, our cheese industry overshadows brewing.
BEER: 4.85 million barrels
CHEESE 2.76 billion pounds
PRODUCTION RANK AMONG STATES
BEER: No. 12
CHEESE: No. 1
TOTAL PER CAPITA PRODUCTION
BEER: 26.4 gallons per resident
CHEESE: 484 pounds per resident
SHARE OF U.S. TOTAL
TOTAL PER CAPITA CONSUMPTION
BEER: 36.2 gallons per resident 21+ (2011)
BREWERIES VS. CHEESE FACTORIES
BEER: 132 active brewery permits
CHEESE: 145 cheese plants
BARS VS. DAIRY FARMS
BEER: The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there are 3,043 drinking places in the state, while the Tavern League of Wisconsin has more than 5,000 members.
CHEESE: The state has 10,853 licensed dairy herds, according to the Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics Service.
NUMBER OF JOBS
BEER: 30,440 people work directly in brewing, distributing, and selling beer
CHEESE: 65,570 directly in the dairy industry (and remember, 90 percent of Wisconsin milk becomes cheese) (2007)
DIRECT ECONOMIC IMPACT
BEER: $3.55 billion
CHEESE: $16.4 billion (entire dairy industry, 2007)
INDIRECT ECONOMIC IMPACT
BEER: $8.65 billion
CHEESE: $26.5 billion (entire dairy industry, 2007)
BEER: The state offers two versions of a Milwaukee Brewers license plate (one current, one retro), allowing drivers to show their Brew Crew pride.
CHEESE: The phrase “America’s Dairyland” is emblazoned on every standard Wisconsin plate, and the 1980s-era plates were as yellow as a block of cheddar.
BEER: While a tall, cold one makes many people think fondly of Wisconsin, beer has never been made an official symbol of the state. The polka, however, is the official state dance, and the old oom-pah-pah just isn’t the same unless you roll out the barrel.
CHEESE: Bills naming cheese the official state snack and Lactococcus lactis (the bacterium that makes cheese) as the official state microbe both failed in the state Legislature in recent years. However, milk is the state beverage, and the cow is the state domestic animal.
Note: Statistics are for 2012 unless otherwise noted. Sources: Brewers Association (brewersassociation.org), Beer Institute (beerinstitute.org), Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (EatWisconsinCheese.com), U.S. Census Bureau 2011 County Business Patterns (census.gov), Wisconsin Tavern League.