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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Oregon Breweries Top a Million Barrels

For the first time since the 1980s, Oregon is back in the million-barrel club. This time, we did it without the help of Henry's, though. The Oregon Brewers Guild reports:
According to figures released today by the Oregon Brewers Guild, Oregon’s breweries crafted 1,050,000 barrels of beer, which represents an increase in production of 15.2 percent over 2008....

Oregon beer produced and consumed in state grew 7.8 percent by volume in 2009 to 358,000 barrels, outpacing the national craft beer growth rate of 7.2 percent by volume. Oregon’s breweries made 12.4 percent of the 2.894 million barrels of all beer – both bottled and draft – consumed in the state during 2009. For draft beer, that percentage is even higher, with Oregon breweries producing an estimated 38 percent of all draft beer consumed in the state.
Although a single major brewery can throw things out of whack a bit, it's still worth mentioning that Oregon accounts for one out of every nine pints of craft beer made in the US.

Of course, Oregon drinks more than just local beer. I did some poking around after I got this press release to see if we could contextualize our status in overall terms. Based on some private industry data (to which I don't have access, sadly, so don't ask), it looks like about a fifth of the Portland market is craft beer--or over a quarter in terms of dollars. If you add in imports, we move closer to one-third of the market--or 40% in total dollars. Now, it's hard to assess the actual "good beer" percentage here because not every import is good beer (probably a sizable chunk is Stella, Heineken, and Corona). Still that makes Portland's consumption pretty impressive.

I couldn't find similar numbers on state-wide comsumption.

To clarify some of the OBG numbers, I spoke to Brian Butenschoen, the director. For the record, the production numbers are those reported to the Guild, and so include contract-brewed beer. (Which means, that we did get a bit of help from Henry's after all.) On the other hand, the consumption numbers wouldn't include Henry's, so those are pretty solid craft-beer stats. Finally, it looks like Portland remains the number one consumer of craft beer in the country--not per capita, total. For me, that's perhaps the most amazing stat. The 29th-largest city, 1/15th the size of New York, and we put away the most craft beer. Let's just go ahead and hang onto the title of Beervana one more year, what say?


  1. "it looks like about a fifth of the Portland market is craft beer--or over a quarter in terms of dollars."

    Wouldn't that be under a quarter?

  2. No, there are two calculations there. If you divide the total pie up into volume (actual beers sold), 19-20% are craft beers. If you divide the pie by dollars, the more expensive craft beers occupy a bigger slice--about 26%.

    Sorry if I wasn't clear.

  3. No numbers on barrels consumed, but according to the Beer Institute, Oregon didn't even make the top ten in highest beer consumption:

  4. @ Bazin:

    The Examiner article only looks at IRI data, which is information submitted to (or gathered by) a market research group for large chain stores and national restaurants like Red Robin.

    Since so much of the beer consumed here is either "draft only" or purchased at independent bottle shops (meaning pretty much anywhere other than Kroger, CostCo or Walmart) it doesn't truly reflect the situation here.

    Contrast that with Montana; there's only a handful of breweries, fewer places outside of large chain stores to buy beer, and considerably more macro/domestic beer consumption, all of which distorts their numbers upwards.

  5. Bazin, there's an important distinction to make here. The link you posted shows total beer consumption. What I'm talking about in this post is craft beer consumption. Oregon has never been particularly high on the list of per capita beer consumption (I think we're at about 23 gallons a year), and in fact has declined recently.

    But we drink far more good beer as a percentage of total consumption than other states. Portland also drinks the most good beer of any city in the country--in total, not per capita.