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The Boom of Beer


With the craft beer boom finally reaching the Eugene market, I find myself hearing more people talking about the sustainability of the beer market here. More often than not I overhear people discussing new breweries opening in Eugene and wondering if they can sustain themselves here in this city of ours. I like to interject with some numbers:

Bend has 14 Breweries!  Now, some are smaller (Below Grade, 1 barrel system) and some are very large (think Deschutes, combined 181 barrel system) but the community supports them wholly.

Bend has a population of 76,639 (2010).  Deschutes county has a total population that is just less than that of Eugene, sitting right around 157,500.  Note: the county has a total of 18 breweries.

This year, Bend added it’s 14th brewery this year, with seemingly no signs of stopping.  Bend is beginning to challenge the notion that Portland is the Oregon destination for excellent craft beer.

Bend has 6 brewfests.  Awesome.

In comparison, Eugene has 6 “native” breweries, with Hop Valley moving into the Whitaker neighborhood from Springfield with their production brewery on W. 1st Avenue, located on the other side of the tracks.  Ninkasi is the largest using a 50 barrel system, while the smallest is, Claim 52 at 3 1/2 barrels.

Eugene has a population of 156,929, (2010) and doubles the population of Bend.  While the county seat has 6, the county totals only 11, and carries a population of 315,715 (2010).

Eugene added its most recent brewery back in the fall of 2012.  Although, there is a brewery that is going for Kickstarter funding, and I am not positive of licensing of their brewery.

Now, to be clear, Eugene very much supports the breweries that we have.   The KLCC brewfest every year is very busy, and the collaboration brews are generally good.   The Sasquatch brewfest is also not short of patrons.  Bottle releases, special events, and just the hard working people of Eugene sipping a pint after work keep the beer flowing.

So the numbers would seem to state that some people are just happy with what they have here in Eugene, but I would beg to differ.  Sitting in the Bier Stein or 16 Tons, talking about new breweries coming to the area, what styles they will represent and when they will open their doors is a top not unheard of.  I think that just a few small minded people would want no more than what they have now.  I for one believe that there is never enough breweries locally.  I believe that with more breweries comes more creative competition, and collaboration.  With the Whitaker becoming a destination for craft beer drinkers, how can more be bad?  It’s great for the local economy, great for discussion, and great for blogging!  As long as breweries continue to open up production, I believe that sustainability within our local market will be just fine.

If you are one of the naysayers, that is perfectly fine too.  You continue to support your favorite local brewery, but don’t knock everyone else because they didn’t order your favorite.



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