Monday, October 30, 2017

Impact of 2017 Oregon Brewers Festival & Changes for 2018

Image courtesy of the Oregon Brewers Festival
It's an annual tradition that a study of the economic impact of the Oregon Brewers Festival is done, the legwork and analysis by Jeff Dense, professor of political science and craft beer studies at Eastern Oregon University and his team of students. They interviewed over 900 festival attendees to come up with their estimates. It's a bit geeky, unless of course you're one of the festival organizers or perhaps one of the tourism-related businesses that benefits from the total $23.9 million impact the 2017 festival had on Multnomah County.

Those who lean geeky, especially numbers geeky, may be interested in the one-page executive summary. The rest may be satisfied knowing:
- 48.7% of attendees were out-of-town visitors, 30% of which stayed with friends or family, leading to a 38% decline in lodging expenditures
- 44.2% of attendees were women, who Dense says "are the key to the future of the craft beer industry"
- 47.2% of attendees were attending the festival for the first or second time, a number that speaks to the vitality of the festival in its ability to attract new visitors
- 28.3% of attendees were 50 years of age or older, a population segment that is highly desirable due to their high level of disposable income

Now about those changes for the 2018 festival:
- The festival will revert to a four-day event, taking place Thursday, July 26 - Sunday, July 29, 2018.
- The tent that in recent years has featured specialty or international beers will go away.
- Replacing the departing tent will be two ciders and some wine offerings, designed to address those with celiac issues as well as to be more inclusive of equal opportunity and non-beer drinkers.
- There will continue to be a map of the festival grounds but no longer the extensive, multi-page printed program. An electronic listing will be made available.

Whatever your personal thoughts on the changes it's important to note that change, for anyone, for anything is essential. It would be foolish to think that a festival looking down the barrel of their 31st year could have lasted this long without making changes along the way. We congratulate the festival on the 30 years under their belt and raise a glass to another 30.

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