While non-technology Oregon exports are plunging with declining global demand and the strong dollar, one category continues to see growth. Oregon’s alcohol exports reached an all-time high in 2015, led by the state’s breweries. According to various sources, our beer exports aren’t necessarily who you think they are. For example, Alameda Brewing in Portland exports internationally while when I spoke to Deschutes Brewery a year ago, they said they exported very little.
Liquor also is seeing strong percentage gains but remains considerably smaller to date. Our growing liquor exports are driven by whiskey and gin, with vodka holding steady. Wine exports are volatile due to some strong demand by individual countries in any given year, but showing slow and steady upward trends.
This matters because our growing alcohol cluster is increasingly a traded sector industry. As the Oregon market becomes more saturated with great local products, our businesses are turning outward for continued growth.
In our office’s still-to-be-released (probably) Oregon Start-Up Brewery report, I call this “Reversing the Oregon Trail.” For example, Deschutes continues to be a trail blazer by expanding their distribution footprint into other states and announcing they will open an east coast production facility in the near future. Other breweries are following their lead, albeit usually on a smaller scale so far, with expansion into neighboring states.
As Oregon continues to be known for high quality, locally produced goods, there is a market and demand for our products. The vast majority of our breweries, distilleries and wineries will continue to quench our Oregon thirst, but some (a few?) will see strong domestic and international growth.
A few miscellaneous graphs: