(Eugene, OR) – The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has released its year-end brewery list ranked by barrels of beer produced (and sold) in-state. In 2011, the OLCC taxed approximately 435k barrels of beer from Oregon producers, an increase of just over 10% from 2010. Here are five things to watch in The Beaver State from a perspective of national interest…
1. CBA SALES DECLINING: The Craft Brew Alliance had a soft year for Oregon production and sales out of Widmer Brothers Brewing’s facility in Portland (producing Widmer Brothers, RedHook and Kona). Sales declined 8% from 93k barrels to 85.5k barrels. Widmer Brothers sales were down a bit on the year and it looks like declining interest right in the home market may be one of the things driving those numbers. CBA/Widmer Bros. is the state’s top producer.
2. DESCHUTES IS FLAT: Deschutes had a strong year, up 11% in production, though none of that growth came from Oregon. In-state sales increased 6% in 2010 but slightly declined in 2011 to just under 82k barrels. That said, if Widmer Brothers has another down year in 2012, Deschutes actually has a chance to become the top-selling Oregon brewer in the state. With both former Deschutes brewmaster, Larry Sidor, starting a brewery (to be named) and former Laurelwood brewmaster, Chad Kennedy, starting Worthy Brewing right in Bend, Deschutes faces some future competition right in town, too.
3. NINKASI ON FIRE: And who is taking Oregon market share from Widmer Brothers and Deschutes? Ninkasi. In-state sales jumped 68% to 36.5k barrels. The brewery is expanding distribution to Montana this year but, for the most part, is staying “local” in the Pacific Northwest and focusing much of its sales efforts right at home.
4. HENRY WEINHARD’S TOO? There is one company that is keeping pace with Ninkasi production growth in Oregon. Tenth and Blake. Contract production of T&B’s Henry Weinhard’s seems to be picking up at Full Sail. In-state sales climbed nearly 75% to 25k barrels.
5. OREGON MICROBREWERY OF THE YEAR: Giving the nod to Boneyard Beer. The company virtually came out of nowhere, surging into the top 20 breweries in terms of production. At just under 3,000 barrels, the operation may seem small but not for long…
The New School Beer Blog reported in December, “[...] they had just signed a lease, effective December 1st, to move the entire operation to a new 15,000 sq ft building that will house a new 50 barrel brewhouse and a full packaging line. Making the jump over will be the brewery’s current 40 barrel fermenters to allow for the making of lagers and specialty high gravity batches.” Oh, and the brewery will be (already is?) packaging beers in cans.