Written by Capital Bureau
For the Oregon Beer Growler
You might think you can't throw a rock in Oregon without it landing in a locally brewed IPA, but growth opportunities remain for the state's craft beer industry.
The outlook for very small breweries seems generally bright, state economist Josh Lehner said in remarks prepared for a Nov. 30 presentation to the Oregon Brewers Guild.
For medium to large breweries, though, exports from the Beaver State will likely be key to continued success.
"The path forward really is about reversing the Oregon Trail," Lehner wrote. "There is just too much competition and market saturation to be able to reach large production numbers by relying solely on Oregon consumers alone."
That includes international exports. Almost half of Oregon's international exports of beer go to Canada. And a strong dollar means that Canadians will pay more for an Oregon brew. That's also good news for those Oregonians who prefer a can of Sapporo: imported beer costs less in the U.S.
Lest you chuckle, the state's penchant for alcohol production and consumption isn't to be taken lightly.
Lehner also pointed out in his remarks that job growth in Oregon's "alcohol cluster" — breweries, distilleries, wineries, as well as distributors and retailers of alcoholic beverages — since the recession has been greater than growth in the state's software industry.
In 2015, Lehner, through his work at the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, found employment in that cluster jumped 46 percent since 2008.
Lehner also pointed out that the Oregon Legislature's boost of the transient lodging tax means that the state has more revenue to spend on marketing the state's tourist draws, which could include the promotion of its hefeweizens, pilsners and porters in far-flung markets.
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