For nearly the first time this century, Oregon lost more breweries than new ones opened
PORTLAND, Ore. — U.S. beer shipments for 2023 are expected to be the lowest level this century, falling more than 5% according to Beer Marketer’s Insights, a beer industry trade publication.
“It’s a tough moment for Oregon’s craft brewers,” said Ben Edmunds, brewmaster at Breakside Brewery and President of the Oregon Brewers Guild. “Increased costs, changes in consumer preferences, and diminished on-premise consumption all made 2023 an especially challenging year. Oregon consumers have a long history of supporting independent, local breweries, and breweries across the state need that support now more than ever — especially as we head into the start of the year.”
In the past few months, Oregon lost more than 20 breweries, brewpubs and taprooms. According to the Brewers Association, 2023 was the first year in decades there were nearly as many craft brewery closures as openings, excluding the 2020 pandemic year. That’s in part because nationwide draft beer sales are still nearly 30% down from before the pandemic. That’s 2 million fewer barrels of beer being sold, which disproportionately impacts craft brewers who rely more heavily on draft sales to survive.
“I’ve seen it in my own taproom. People are going out less, especially since Covid. There is a lot of competition when it comes to a customer choosing to drink your beer, not just from other breweries, but many other beverage producers as well,” said Sonia Marie Leikam, cofounder of Leikam Brewing and Vice President of the Oregon Brewers Guild. “We need to rally together to weather this storm. So please support your favorite local brewery.”
Consumer tastes are shifting, more canned cocktails are on the market, cannabis is replacing drinking occasions and fewer young people are drinking. According to the National Institutes of Health’s annual Monitoring the Future survey, the 20-year trend of American teens drinking less continued into 2023. Most teens report they have never consumed alcohol. And in states with legal cannabis, alcohol sales have slowly declined.
Beer is an essential part of Oregon’s identity and economy. Oregon is home to nearly 400 breweries, brewpubs and taprooms generating more than $8.7 billion in economic output, $2.8 billion in wages, creating 50,000 jobs in the state.
About the Oregon Beverage Alliance
The Oregon Beverage Alliance is made up of local brewers, winemakers, cidermakers, distillers and their supply and hospitality partners creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. Learn more: www.DontTaxMyDrink.org