2016 OBF Economic Impact Report

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2016 Oregon Brewers Festival Generates $29.3 Million for Local Economy


PORTLAND, Ore. – Oct. 20, 2016 – A recently completed study estimates the economic impact of the 2016 Oregon Brewers Festival (OBF) at $29.3 million.

Jeff Dense, Professor of Political Science and Craft Beer Studies at Eastern Oregon University, and a team of students administered 901 on-site interviews between July 27 and July 30, 2016.

The study utilized IMPLAN (IMpact Analysis for PLANning) data and software package to estimate the economic impact of the Oregon Brewers Festival on Multnomah County. The 2016 OBF generated an estimated $18.9 million in direct, $5.5 million in indirect (additional input purchases made by local businesses) and $4.9 million in induced (expenditures by employees from wages paid by companies in direct contact with tourists) economic impact. The $29.3 million economic impact for the 2016 Oregon Brewers Festival constituted a 3% decrease from the 2015 edition of the event.

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

Two of the most significant findings unearthed by the study are the number of women (44.2%) attending the 2016 Oregon Brewers Festival, along with a significant increase in the percentage of out-of-town visitors obtaining vacation rental lodging while attending OBF (20.2%, an 84% increase from 2015).

“Women are the key to the future of the craft beer industry,” Dense said, adding, “The lodging industry should take heed to the increasing number of cost conscious visitors who are availing themselves of the vacation rental lodging market while attending craft beer festivals.”

Other findings of the study include:

  • Visiting OBF patrons spent an average of $561.
  • Nearly half (44.5%) of attendees were out-of-town visitors.
  • Visitors from Washington (12.1%) and California (11.2) were highly prevalent at OBF.
  • Accommodations ($9.5 million) accounted for the largest share of OBF patron expenditures, followed by the food and drink industry ($7.6 million).
  • Half (49.6%) of patrons were attending OBF for either the first or second time.
  • OBF generated $1.7 million in indirect business taxes for state and local government.

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 (as of June 30, 2016) 218 brewing companies operated 263 brewing facilities in 72 cities across the state. The Oregon Brewers Festival always takes place the last full weekend in July. The 30th annual event will take place July 26 through July 30, 2017. For more information, visit www.oregonbrewfest.com.

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