My wife and I spent the past weekend in Bandon, on the southern Oregon coast, and though it wasn’t a beer trip—southwest Oregon is noticeably lacking in many breweries—we did stop somewhat briefly at Hop Valley Brewing in Springfield (adjacent to Eugene) and at Brewers Union Local 180 in Oakridge, both on the way home. Brewers Union in particular I’ve really been wanting to visit, and I have to say my expectations were exceeded—I loved the place and can’t wait to visit again.
I’ll have reviews posted for each accordingly, based on our brief visits.
But pertaining to my comment above about southwestern Oregon’s general dearth of breweries: the coast south of Florence has none at all, and I couldn’t help but think that Bandon would be a good place to open a brewpub. Even though it’s small—some 3300 people—it’s a tourist destination and there seems like enough of a population in the area to support one (Coos Bay and North Bend, about 20-25 miles north of Bandon, collectively have a population of about 25,000).
Beyond that, I got to thinking about other areas of Oregon that are underserved in terms of breweries (especially compared to Portland and Bend): a quick look at Beermapping and researching populations of various towns reveals regions that might—and I should stress might—be fruitful if you were looking for somewhere to plant a brewery:
- The aforementioned Bandon/Coos Bay/North Bend area, with a collective population of 29,300. (3235, 16,210, and 9855 respectively).
- Brookings, on the southernmost point on the coast, with a population of 6455; Gold Beach, 28 miles up the coast, has 1897, and Cresent City, just across the border in California, has 7643: for a total of 15,995 in the region.
- Roseburg, 70 miles south of Eugene on I-5, has 21,050 people and one McMenamins brewpub.
- Seaside, on the northern Oregon coast, has 5900 people and no breweries, and is a huge tourist destination (even though Cannon Beach at nine miles away has a brewpub and Astoria, 17 miles away, has two breweries).
Those are the areas that stand out. And there are a few other areas that could be pointed out but you’d have a really hard time making a case for: Burns (pop. 3020), Lakeview (pop. 2655), John Day (pop. 1672).