2017 Oregon Brewers Festival Economic Impact, and It’s Big

Crowds in the Beer Tent

Scenes from one of the big tents at this past summer’s Oregon Brewers Festival.

A recent press release from the Oregon Brewers Festival organizers gave us a summary of the estimated economic impact this annual festival made on Portland this year—and it’s a big one, $23.9 million strong. The three sources taken into account are:

  • $15.3 million in direct—money spent at/during/for the Festival
  • $4.4 million in indirect—additional input purchases made by local businesses
  • $4.1 million in induced—expenditures by employees from wages paid by companies in direct contact with tourists)

And those large numbers reflect an 18% decrease from last year’s fest (there was a 15% decrease in total attendance).

The Origin of the Numbers

The numbers are the result of a survey project led by Jeff Dense, professor of political science and craft beer studies at Eastern Oregon University. Details:

“His team of students administered 908 on-site interviews between July 26 and July 29, 2017. The study utilized IMPLAN (IMpact Analysis for PLANning) data and software package to estimate the economic impact of the Oregon Brewers Festival on Multnomah County.” So that’s where the aforementioned numbers came from.

It’s All About the Women

The press release also shared information that I have suspected for some time—that women are major economic players in the world of craft beer consumption. According to the Eastern Oregon University survey, 44.2% of the attendees at the Oregon Brewers Festival were women.

“Women are the key to the future of the craft beer industry,” Jeff Dense said, adding “The lodging industry should take heed to the increasing number of cost conscious visitors who are availing themselves of the vacation rental lodging market and staying with family and friends while attending craft beer festivals and other community events in Portland.” I know many women who love craft beer and like to travel to try different kinds.

Data Data Data Data

Here’s more data for those of you who love the stuff (yeah, I’m one of them):

  • Visiting OBF patrons spent an average of $532
  • Nearly half (48.7%) of attendees were out-of-town visitors
  • Visitors from Washington (9.9%) and California (9.7%) were highly prevalent at OBF
  • Food and drink ($6.9 million) accounted for the largest share of OBF patron expenditures, followed by the lodging industry ($5.9 million)
  • Half (47.2%) of patrons were attending OBF for either the first or second time
  • OBF generated $1.3 million in indirect business taxes for state and local government

Big thanks to the Oregon Brewers Festival folks who passed on these fascinating details. I look forward to enjoying this fun and delicious event next summer.

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Bridgetown Bites is written by Meg Cotner, a food loving freelance writer, editor and published author in Portland, OR.

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