Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oregon was home to 900 wineries, 1,200 vineyards, 73 distributors, 400 breweries, 100 cideries, more than 50 distilleries, 10,000 restaurants and 37,200 farms, creating thousands of good-paying jobs and several billion dollars in wages. Many of those jobs are now at risk or have been lost. Tax increases only make it harder for these businesses to invest in rehiring, equipment, upgrades and expansion, and will result in higher prices for consumers.
Oregon brewers help create 43,000 jobs and $2 billion in wages each year. Unfortunately, more than 10,000 of those jobs are expected to be lost because of COVID-19 closures. We’ve already seen dozens of our local brewers shutter.
Oregon’s wine industry was hit by unprecedented wildfires and smoke. As Oregon wineries put their energy into producing new wines and mitigating impacts of smoke exposure, these efforts led to increased costs for an industry already struggling due to the impacts of COVID-19.
Because of COVID-19, 81% of Oregon’s 100 cideries were forced to close their tasting rooms and 50% laid off workers. These losses also impact Oregon’s 37,200 farmers supplying cideries, the 10,000 restaurants serving the cider and the 73 distributors delivering beverages.
Craft distillers generate more than 40% of their sales through tasting rooms, many of which are now closed. Oregon distillers report a 30% reduction in sales since COVID-19. Oregon’s spirits tax is second highest in the country. The last thing these homegrown businesses need is a tax increase.