Nearly 30 breweries, cider makers and taprooms closed in Oregon last year, the most in a single year.
Is it the beginning of the end for the craft beer industry or just a market adjustment?
And how is Bend’s beer industry affected?
“Over the past year, January 2023 to now, we’ve definitely seen a decrease in overall sales.”
Nathan Doss says beer sales declined at Bevel Craft Brewing in Bend.
“You do see customers wanting other options whether its cocktails or non-alcoholic beer or gluten free products. I think all of those things effect the overall demand for beer but there’s the economy to think about. There’s bad weather to think about.”
“I don’t think sky is falling. I think it is turbulent right now,” said Ben Edmunds, president of the Oregon Brewers Guild.
Edmunds believes years of rapid growth in the state’s craft beer industry came to end during the pandemic when consumer patterns and preferences began to change.
“There are headwinds from consumption from non beer beverages whether they be seltzer or ready to drink cocktails or people abstaining all together going toward NA beer or just non-alcoholic options. Also, cost of doing business is up compared to what it was 4 or 5 years ago,” Edmunds said.
Crooked Roots Brewing in Prineville shut down in September. A new owner quickly reopened it as the Patio Taphouse.
And just this month, Cascade Lakes Brewing shut down its flagship location on Century Drive after opening a new pub on Bend’s east side.
“When you see breweries closing, selling, just going away… it is concerning,” Doss said.
Doss said he’s already added a light lager to Bevel’s taps and may soon offer gluten free products.
In the meantime, he’s counting on the always popular food trucks at his brewery, trivia nights and music nights to keep the locals coming back for more.