RICHMOND, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- There are now more licensed breweries in Virginia than in North Carolina.
Governor Terry McAuliffe announced on Thursday that Virginia has 206 licensed breweries, which have an economic impact in the billions of dollars each year.
An economic impact study says the booming beer industry contributes more than $9.34 billion to the Commonwealth's economy annually.
"The beer industry is a significant economic driver that spans several sectors including manufacturing, agriculture and tourism," said McAuliffe. "I am proud of the success we have had making Virginia a premier destination for craft brewers and consumers from all over the world."
Since 2012, the number of active brewery licenses in Virginia has grown 468 percent, according to the Virginia Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control.
A similar state agency in North Carolina reports 186 active brewery licenses.
In Virginia, the beer industry employed more than 28,000 people in production, distribution and retail, and contributed nearly $1 billion in state and local taxes for 2016.
According to a release, excise and sales taxes on beer consumption also contributed $280 million to the state's tax rolls last year.
Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Basil I. Gooden says the beer industry is one of the fastest growing divisions in the agricultural industry of the Commonwealth with beer tourism being a major driver of agritourism.
During McAuliffe's administration, the number of breweries in Virginia has more than doubled.