Posted by: Josh Lehner | March 17, 2016

Oregon Alcohol Exports

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. ORAlcExports15

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:





  1. […] to unreasonable price increases and will allow Oregon beer, wine and spirits businesses to continue to succeed and grow. Consistently, polls show that Oregonians support the current liquor market and believe […]

  2. […] Second, Oregon’s alcohol cluster continues to boom. This includes the state’s breweries, distilleries, wineries in addition to distributors, specialty retail shops and bars. It does not include restaurants and so misses out on the brewpubs that are classified as restaurants. While wages are not as high in the alcohol cluster, it remains an important industry for a few reasons. At its roots, it is value-added manufacturing. It takes commodities and raw ingredients and turns them into a more valuable product that is then sold around the world. The impact really goes beyond the bottles and cans however. The broader cluster of agricultural products, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, and local design, marketing and consulting services are key. When a new brewery opens in another state, they look to Oregon-based firms to help them get started. Additionally, the geographic footprint of the industry is widespread and not just concentrated in the larger urban areas. For more, see our office’s beer report and look at alcohol exports. […]

  3. […] This is in part due to the fact we have spent less time researching these topics; alcohol being an exception. And also in part because it is difficult to properly frame the conversation given that […]

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