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Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor of Love

Let's imagine an alternative universe. In this universe, the craft beer movement never happened. Americans still drink beer--the rise of craft brewing didn't affect per capita consumption--but they only drink macro lagers. The big debate among beer drinkers is the modern version of tastes great/less filling: no one argues actual flavor.

A sad tale, but I tell it not because that bereft alternate universe is merely lacking in good beer. It is also a universe with fewer jobs--or anyway, fewer Oregon jobs. (I'll leave the economists to calculate how many more people are employed in our universe of craft brewing; it's more, because craft breweries are way more inefficient than macro plants and require more hands--but how much more I can't say.) Oregon breweries directly employ 4,700 people. These are good jobs, too--it's cool to work for a brewery! The industry also supports thousands of other jobs, too, in beer distributorships, hop-growing, pubs, beer magazines, and bottle shops. All of which adds up to a calculated $2.33 billion contribution to the state's economy.

(No doubt effects are substantial in other states, as well.)

So on this Labor Day, salute the Oregon beer industry for supporting so many good jobs. Cheers to you--


  1. Perhaps you or other readers will know more about this...

    I found a note about a brief strike among hops pickers in 1933. I don't know how to assess the event - I don't think hops picking strikes were frequent, but I don't know Willamette Valley labor history to assess its broader significance.

    Do readers know about other strikes among agricultural workers in the early 20th century? (or other local hops/beer strikes, for that matter?)