Beervana Expands by Eight Percent

Yesterday afternoon, Oregon Brewers Guild Director Brian Butenschoen put out a press release filled with wonderful news:
Figures released today by the Oregon Brewers Guild show 2007 was a banner year for Oregon’s craft brewing industry as production across the state grew at a rate of 8.1 percent. Total beer production for the state was approximately 860,000 barrels, or 285 million bottles of beer. That is an increase of more than 64,000 barrels, up from 796,000 barrels in 2006.
Oregon's brewing industry has been in a remarkable period of growth--over 60% since 2003, when the total barrelage was just 537,000. The numbers speak for themselves:
  • Of the beer brewed in-state, more than 11.4 percent, or 308,000 barrels, were purchased and consumed in Oregon.
  • Oregon breweries producing 42 percent of all draft beer consumed in the state. This is the highest percentage of local craft draft beer consumption in the country.
  • 2007 marks the first year that Oregon brewers have sold more than 300,000 barrels in state.
  • According to the Beer Institute, Oregon produces more beer than any state without a national brewery.
  • Widmer Brewing produced 283,000 barrels (8.8 million gallons) in 2007, the most of any brewery in the state.
Of course, we have no way of knowing what the effect of the hop shortage will be on breweries in 2008. Even more importantly, we only have production numbers, not revenues--which may take the biggest hit thanks to the hop and barley price spikes.

But the takeaway is unmistakeable. Oregon entered the new century as the pace-setter for American craft brewing, and the state's breweries have only picked up steam. While a good part of this is brewery's success in the national market, it's clear that the real advantage our brewers enjoy is the home market. Our capacity to drink good beer continues to grow, which means each year a new cohort of good-beer drinkers is added to the ranks . This, more than the fickle national trends, will continue to bouy the market even when an inevitable downturn does arrive.

Congrats and cheers to the men and women who make Beervana Beervana--