The Oregon Liquor Cannabis Commission presentation to the state legislature showed Oregonian are drinking less than predicted.

PORTLAND, Ore. — This week, the Oregon Liquor Cannabis Commission updated state lawmakers that revenue will be down because Oregonians are drinking less than predicted – a national trend playing out in the state.

OLCC officials said spirit sales are flat at best and beer and wine are down. According to Circana, an industry leader in tracking national sales, total beverage alcohol sales were down -2% in 2023. Volume of alcohol sales were even lower, down -5.3%. Specifically, beer sales volume was down -5.9% and wine sales volume was down -4.1% last year.

Contributing more than $17 billion to Oregon’s economy, alcohol is the third largest source of revenue for the state. The OLCC told the legislature instead of banking on $705 million from alcohol sales in 2023-2025, it should expect closer to $573 million – most of which goes to the general fund. The state’s economic forecast also predicted less alcohol sales, a trend industry has seen coming for years.

“Oregon’s breweries, wineries and distilleries are facing major challenges with record closures rates and reduced sales volume,” said the Oregon Beverage Alliance. “Between inflation on the cost of ingredients, supply chain issues, employee shortages, natural disasters and a pandemic, these homegrown businesses need the support of lawmakers and the public to survive. The last thing these local job creators need are tax increases.”

Sadly, officials at the Oregon Health Authority are still pushing for tax increases on breweries, wineries and cideries despite their own 2021 report – which wasn’t released to the public until last month – finding taxes don’t change consumer habits or curb excessive alcohol use. Even after being caught burying a report that contradicted efforts to justify raising alcohol taxes, OHA officials doubled down last week at a Task Force on Alcohol Pricing and Addiction Services meeting, presenting that consumption rates are increasing to fit their narrative rather than being honest with the public.

Consumer tastes are shifting with cannabis 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.

Oregon lost nearly 30 breweries and taprooms in 2023. 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.


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: