The Brew Site

Press Release: Oregon Breweries Near Half Billion Mark in Retail Sales

Half a billion bottles sold, that is… the headline for this press release is "263 Million Bottles of Beer on the Wall," but that didn’t seem descriptive enough for me. Here’s the rest of the release:

Oregon’s beer production grew at a rate of 16.5 percent in 2006, as the state’s craft brewers produced the equivalent of more than 263 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 796,000 barrels, according to figures released today by the Oregon Brewers Guild. That is an increase of more than 113,000 barrels, up from 683,000 barrels in 2005. A barrel is equal to 31 gallons or 13.78 cases of beer.

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

Portland, Oregon has 28 microbreweries within its city limits which is more than any other city in the world. The Guild anticipates four more breweries opening within the city limits in 2007, 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. Seattle and San Francisco are the second and third largest markets respectively.

“Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world. Portland is the largest craft beer market in the U.S. Oregon is the second largest producer of craft beer in the U.S. and Oregon is the second largest craft beer market in the U.S. No wonder Oregon is known as Beervana and is a destination for craft beer lovers from all over the U.S. and the world,” 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 almost 4300 family wage jobs, a lure for tourism and an outlet for local products such as hops, malted barley, yeast and glass,” he added.

He also cited the fact that almost 11 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 11.7 percent, growing 16.5 percent in 2006. “This robust growth is an indicator of the vigor of this industry in the state of Oregon and we are a proud to be an important contributing factor in Oregon’s economic recovery,” said Van Havig of Rock Bottom Brewery, president of the Guild’s board of Directors.

Oregon is home to six of the 25 largest craft breweries in the nation, more than any other state in the U.S. The largest craft beer producer is Widmer Brothers Brewing Company of Portland, which produced 269,000 barrels in 2006 making it the third largest craft brewery in the nation. Two breweries produced the fewest barrels in 2006: Willamette Brewery, a new brewery in Eugene and Clinton Street Brewing of Portland, both produced six barrels in 2006.

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 43 brewing companies, 27 associate or supplier members and more than 1,430 enthusiast members or S.N.O.B.s (Supporters of Native Oregon Beer). For more information, see