Beer Festival Generates $23 Million for Local Economy

How much does the brewing industry mean to our local and regional economy? What kind of revenue does our appetite for good beer generate? The numbers are a bit nebulous. Nationwide, we spent about $8 billion on craft beer last year. According to the National Beer Wholesalers Association, the Washington and Oregon beer industries provide nearly 40,000 jobs. The nation’s hop crop–77 percent of which comes from the Yakima Valley–can be worth as much as $300 million each year. Still, it is hard wrap your brain around those kinds of numbers.

Today I have some cold, hard numbers to share with you. The Oregon Brewers Festival just released information about the economic impact of the annual event held on the banks of the Willamette River in downtown Portland. According to a study by Jeff Dense, Professor of Political Science at Eastern Oregon University, the Oregon Brewers Festival generates $23.2 million for the local economy. That number is impressive.

Understandably, the Oregon Brewers Festival sent out a press release. Here it is:

2011 Oregon Brewers Festival Generates $23.2 Million for Local Economy

A recently completed study estimates the economic impact of the Oregon Brewers Festival on Multnomah County

PORTLAND, Ore. – June 5, 2012 – A recently completed study estimates the economic impact of the 2011 Oregon Brewers Festival (OBF) on the local economy at $23.2 million.

Jeff Dense, Professor of Political Science at Eastern Oregon University, and his Politics and Beer class administered 628 on-site interviews at the 2011 event, July 28-30 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland.

The analysis utilized IMPLAN (IMpact Analysis for PLANning) data and software package to estimate the economic impact of the Oregon Brewers Festival on Multnomah County. The OBF generated $16.24 million in direct and $6.97 million in indirect (additional input purchases made by local businesses) expenditures. Additionally, the OBF generated $5.9 million in induced expenditures (local business owners, suppliers and employee expenditures related to direct and indirect expenditures).

“The study highlights the economic impact of the Oregon Brewers Festival, and Portland’s role as one of the premier beer tourism’s destinations in the United States,” Dense said.

Respondents were queried on demographic factors, along with estimates of OBF-related expenditures in tourism-related categories, including transportation, lodging, meals, gasoline purchases, non-beer related recreation, beer purchased to take home, and expenditures at the OBF.

Findings of the study include:

  • Out-of-state (Southwest Washington excluded) and international visitors accounted for 56% of OBF attendees.
  • 64% of OBF attendees were male; 35% of attendees were 21-29 years of age.
  • The average local attendee spent $104.
  • The average out-of-state and international attendee spent $750.
  • 82% of respondents indicated they were staying 2 or more days.
  • In addition to the estimated $23.2 million economic impact on Multnomah County, local residents spent an estimated
  • $7.97 million related to the OBF.
  • 53% of respondents were attending the OBF for the first time.

This year marks the 25th annual Oregon Brewers Festival, which will take place July 26 through July 29 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland. Event hours are Noon to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and Noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. Nearly 80,000 fans will travel from points around the world to sample from more than 120 beers at the annual event.

The Oregon Brewers Festival was founded in 1988 as an opportunity to expose the public to microbrews at a time when the craft brewing industry was just getting off the ground. Today, that industry has flourished, especially in Oregon, which has 107 brewing companies operating 139 brewing facilities in 55 cities. Portland alone has 48 breweries – more than any other city in the world. For more information about the Oregon Brewers Festival, visit www.oregonbrewfest.com.


One comment

  1. The City of Seattle needs to be aware of this. Maybe then they would allow our Brewers Festival to be held at Myrtle Edwards Park. The Washington festival would be as big or even bigger than the Oregon festival if it was held near downtown Seattle. Portland’s festival is proof of that.

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