As craft beer sales soften, it trickles down to local Oregon farmers

PORTLAND, Ore. — This week, many of Oregon’s hop farmers will begin harvest but less was planted this year because of declining craft beer sales.

“As the beer industry goes, so does the hop industry,” said Ben Edmunds, owner of Breakside Brewery and President of the Oregon Brewers Guild. “We’re the two sides of the same coin.”

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture, hop acreage has decreased nationally by 8% from 2022, but the numbers are worse for Oregon hop growers, who are down 11% compared to last year. Oregon is the third largest hop producing state with nearly 7,000 acres, only behind Washington and Idaho.

“This is the first year of me and my husband running the farm and it’s been tough,” said fourth generation hop farmer Erica Lorentz of Sodbuster Farms. “Sometimes it’s simply a variety of hop going out of style, but this year all hops are down because of declining beer sales. At Sodbuster, we’ll harvest 15% less than last year.”

Oregon’s 400 breweries generate more than $8.7 billion in economic output, $2.8 billion in wages and help create 50,000 jobs in the state, of those nearly 1,300 are Oregon agriculture jobs. But craft beer sales are down for the first time in decades. According to the U.S. Brewers Association, total beer volume is down at least 3%.


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