Eastern Oregon University > Faculty > The economics of beer

The economics of beer

Professor Jeff Dense

Professor Jeff Dense

Economic impact of 2015 Oregon Brewers Festival

Contact: Jeff Dense
Politics and Economics Department
541-962-3854 | jdense@eou.edu

December 1, 2015

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – A recently completed study by a political science professor at Eastern Oregon University estimates the economic impact of the 2015 Oregon Brewers Festival (OBF) at $30.2 million.

Jeff Dense, who also teaches craft beer studies, and a team of his students administered 751 on-site interviews during the event held in downtown Portland last July.

Respondents were queried on demographic factors, along with estimates of festival 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.

The study utilized a data and software package called IMPLAN (IMpact Analysis for PLANning) to estimate the economic impact of the festival on Multnomah County. Results show the 2015 OBF generated an estimated $19.4 million in direct, $5.7 million in indirect (additional input purchases made by local businesses) and $5.1 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.

Findings of the study include:

  • A majority (52.8%) of OBF patrons were out-of-town visitors.
  • Visitors from Washington, California and Canada comprised 28.7% of OBF patrons.
  • 35.6% of respondents were attending OBF for the first time.
  • 28.2% of OBF patrons were 50 years or older.
  • The average out-of-town visitor spent $583.
  • Lodging ($9.13 million) accounted for the largest share of OBF expenditures.
  • State and local government received $1.72 million in indirect business taxes.
  • 45.5% of OBF patrons utilized mass transit to attend the festival.

Dense conducted a similar study last year, which estimated the economic impact of the 2014 Oregon Brewers Festival at $32.4 million.