Beer

The Claim

Oregon is beer central.

The Reality

Only if you’re talking about craft beer.

Oregon can’t claim the greatest volume of beer production in the country. Those distinctions go to states with behemoth Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors Brewing operations. Oregonians, however, seem to prefer quality to quantity when it comes to the brewed beverage.

“Oregon is the craft beer capital of the United States,” explains Brian Butenschoen, executive director of the Oregon Brewers Guild. “We have the highest percentage of dollars spent on craft beer. We’re the second largest producer, and Portland has fifty-one breweries—more than any other city in the world.”

Last year a tracking group reported that 40 percent of money spent on beer in Oregon supermarkets went to craft beer, the highest percentage ever recorded in the country. And while Portland is Beervana—the hub of the state’s craft brewing movement—fifty-eight other towns in the state also have breweries. In all, Oregon brewers made 1.17 million barrels of beer in 2011, all of it “craft,” according to the Craft Brewers Association definition.

The state’s craft beer movement is on full display each July at the annual Oregon Brewers Festival, a four-day event in Portland that attracts about 80,000 people. Founded twenty-five years ago as the “Anti-Great American Brewers Festival,” says Butenschoen, the Brewer’s Festival is a down-to-earth beer fest with great local brews and a low-cost of entry for beer lovers.

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