Oregon Brewers Festival Reports $32.6 Million in Economic Contributions

PORTLAND, Ore. — A recently completed study estimates the economic impact of the 2014 Oregon Brewers Festival (OBF) at $32.5 Million, a 3.8 percent increase from the 2013 festival.

Jeff Dense, Professor of Political Science at Eastern Oregon University, and a team of students and volunteers administered 759 on-site interviews at this summer’s 27th annual festival from July 23 to 27.

The analysis utilized IMPLAN (IMpact Analysis for PLANning) data and software package to estimate the economic impact of the festival on Multnomah County. The 2014 OBF generated an estimated $20.9 Million in direct, $6.1 Million in indirect (additional input purchases made by local businesses) and $5.5 Million in induced (expenditures by employees from wages paid by companies in direct contact with tourists) economic impact.

“The Oregon Brewers Festival, and craft beer tourism, continues to have a significant economic impact on the Portland economy,” Dense said.

One of the most important findings of the study is the increasingly important role women are playing in the craft beer industry; nearly half (44.8%) of this year’s OBF attendees were female. According to Dense, “Women are the future of the craft beer industry.”

Respondents were queried on demographic factors, along with estimates of OBF related expenditures in tourism-related categories, including transportation, lodging, meals, gasoline purchases, non-beer related recreation, beer purchased to take home, and expenditures at the OBF.

Findings of the study include:

  • A majority (56.8%) of OBF patrons were out-of-town visitors.
  • Visitors from Washington, California and Canada comprised 30.6% of total OBF patrons.
  • 41.1% of respondents were attending OBF for the first time.
  • 25.4% of OBF patrons were 50 years or older.
  • The average out-of-town visitor spent $674.
  • Lodging ($9.1 Million) accounted for the largest share of OBF expenditures.
  • State and local government received $1.87 Million in indirect business taxes.
  • 42.3% of OBF patrons utilized mass transit to attend the festival.

This was the fourth year of the study; 2011 estimated the estimated economic impact of the festival at $23.2 Million, 2012 came in at $30 Million, and 2013 showed $31.2 Million.


The Oregon Brewers Festival was founded in 1988 as an opportunity to expose the public to microbrews at a time when the craft brewing industry was just getting off the ground. Today, that industry has succeeded, especially in Oregon, where 173 brewing companies operate 214 brewing facilities in 70 cities in Oregon. Portland has 56 breweries — more than any other city in the world — and the Portland metropolitan area is the largest craft brewing market in the US with the most number of breweries at 76. The Oregon Brewers Festival always takes place the last full weekend in July. The 28th annual event will take place July 22 through July 26, 2015. For more information, visit www.oregonbrewfest.com