Josh Lehner is an economist for the State of Oregon. For the last eight years, Lehner has been studying Oregon’s economy and giving reports on everything from housing to personal income. When it comes to beer, he’s probably an Oregon craft expert by now as the state is one of the top in the nation (with more than 200 hundred brewing brands operating in the Beaver State). Just recently, Lehner sat on a panel at the Oregon Brewers Guild annual meeting. Before he did the panel, he posted an extended version of this thoughts — titled “Reversing the Oregon Trail: A Beer Expedition” — a reference to growth being contained outside of the state for bigger brewing brands.
Lehner’s report is that there is opportunity and growth in the market, but certain segments are slowing in Oregon; it’s a trend we’ve been talking about nationwide for some time. Small, localized craft brands still have growth potential while the big dogs are maybe bumping the top of the kettle. It gets more complicated than that — especially when you regionalize the arguments — but Lehner does a great job of summarizing a lot of interesting trends and transitions in his article below. It’s a great read.