New Breweries Racing Up the Best-Seller Charts
- 1,585.95 *
The big three are Deschutes (1988), Widmer/CBA (1984), Ninkasi (2006). The medium three are old-timers Portland (1986), BridgePort (1984), and Full Sail (1987). Five of the next six are young strivers, along with one fading old-timer: 10 Barrel (2006), Boneyard (2010), Rogue (1988), Hopworks (2007), Double Mountain (2007), and Oakshire (2006). Full list (.pdf) is here.
The Power of Hops
Ever since I posted an argument against Adrienne So's hops-are-taking-over-the-world piece in Slate, I keep seeing evidence that she had a point. If you look at the old-timers on this list, only one has a hoppy flagship (BridgePort). They rose to prominence in the period BH (before hops), and became titans by selling wheats, ambers, porters, and whatever Dead Guy is. The newbies? They're hop kings, founded in the era AL (after lupulin), which one can safely date to about 2005. Ninkasi, Boneyard, and Double Mountain are all pretty much explicitly IPA houses, and 10 Barrel, Hopworks, and Oakshire definitely know their way around the hopback.
Oregonians Say Nyet to Rogue
These figures track only what Oregonians are buying, and they're obviously not buying a lot of Rogue. Newport's finest is the country's 22nd largest brewery, bigger than Full Sail (24) and Ninkasi (31), and yet they sell less beer here than 10 Barrel and Boneyard--breweries most people have never heard of. It's probably even worse than it looks, because Rogue has nine pubs around the state. Boneyard, meanwhile, is an all-draft brewery with no pubs (and a tasting room that's not open a lot of the time).
Lists often give the illusion of a scale, as though the distance separating 9 and 10 is the same as that separating 1 and 2. That's obviously inaccurate: the barrelage of numbers 7-12 totals 13,800 and change--less than Deschutes brewed in the same period. The distance separating 22 and 11, a thousand barrels, is less than the amount separating six and seven.
What's not evident from a top-twelve list is how well so many breweries are doing. Forty-eight breweries are on track to sell over a thousand barrels in Oregon. If you collapse the McMenamins and Deschutes down, that drops 41, but still. As a data-head, I'd love to see stats on breweries that crack the thousand-barrel mark. My guess is Oregon would look even more impressive.
Which brewery sells more, oh geeky brethern, Logsdon or Old Market?; Hair of the Dog or Coalition? You might be surprised to learn that certain breweries with huge reputations and beer geek cred don't actually sell a lot of beer. Through three months, Upright sold 232 barrels, Flat Tail 240, The Commons 135, Hair of the Dog 83 barrels, and Logsdon 46. That makes Old Market's 195 look pretty good, doesn't it?
Some of the recent new breweries are getting off to great starts. In ascending order we have number 47 Gigantic with 260 barrels, Base Camp (45, 295), Pfriem (42, 304), Worthy (30, 438), and Crux (27, 489). I guess that answers the question about whether Hood River and Bend are yet saturated, doesn't it?