Press Release: Oregon Breweries Help Pump $2.25 Billion Into State’s Economy

This kind of ties in with my previous post about the top 50 breweries.

Oregon’s beer production grew at a rate of nearly 16 percent in 2005, as the state’s craft brewers produced the equivalent of more than 226 million bottles of beer and the beer industry as a whole, pumped more than $2.25 billion into the state’s economy.

Total beer production for the state was approximately 683,000 barrels, according to figures released today by the Oregon Brewers Guild. That is an increase of more than 92,000 barrels, up from 591,000 barrels in 2004. A barrel is equal to 31 gallons or about 331 12-ounce bottles.

That total ranks Oregon second in the nation for total production of craft beer, commonly referred to as microbrews. Since the closure of the Blitz-Weinhard Brewery in 1999, all beer production in Oregon has been by independent craft breweries.

Portland, Oregon has 30 microbreweries within its city limits which is more than any other city in the world. The Guild anticipates at least two more breweries opening within the city limits in 2006, bringing the total to 32.

The Portland metro area is the largest craft brewing market in the United States (U.S.). It is the only area to sell more than 1,000,000 cases of micro brewed beer according to Information Resources Inc. San Francisco and Seattle are the second and third largest markets respectively.

“Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world. Oregon is the second largest producer of microbrewed beer in the U.S. and that is why Oregon, is ‘Beervana’ for craft beer lovers,” said Brian Butenschoen, Executive Director of the Oregon Brewers Guild.

“Our healthy brewing industry is good for not only beer drinkers, but the state as a whole, because it provides over 3800 family wage jobs, a lure for tourism and an outlet for agricultural products such as hops and barley,” he added.

He also cited the fact that 10+ percent of all beer consumed in Oregon is Oregon-brewed craft beer. The national market share for all craft beer is 3.5 percent, according to the Brewers Association.

Oregon’s craft beer production growth also outpaced the national rate of 9 percent, growing 16% in 2005. Oregon also led the nation in percentage increase in beer shipments up 3.9% in 2005, according to the Beer Institute.

“Beer drinkers in Oregon and across the country recognize the quality, flavor and diversity of Oregon beers. So they seek out our beers in their local markets or come to the source to get them,” said John Harris of Full Sail Brewing Co., president of the Guild’s board of directors. “We contribute to the state’s economy and also the quality of life here in Oregon.”

Oregon is home to six of the 25 largest craft breweries in the nation, of the six the largest is Portland’s Widmer Brothers Brewing Company, which produced 226,492 barrels in 2005 making it the 3rd largest craft brewery in the nation.

The Oregon Brewers Guild is Oregon’s non-profit trade association for the state’s independent breweries. The Guild, which receives no state funding, comprises 42 breweries, 18 associate or supplier members, 20 retail members and more than 965 enthusiast members or S.N.O.B.s (Supporters of Native Oregon Beer). For more information, see