Oregon’s Craft Brewers Have a Problem: ‘There’s Just Too Much Beer Out There’

They’re the brands this beer town was built on: Portland Brewing, BridgePort, Widmer Brothers.

For decades, they ruled craft beer not only in Portland but in Oregon and beyond, with wide distribution and venerable names like MacTarnahan’s, BridgePort IPA and Hefe. Craft beer drinkers had their favorite and supported their brewery.

Then something changed. The number of breweries across the nation took a massive leap, going from 1,500 a decade ago to about 7,500 now. With more options, habits shifted, and a fickle, younger generation of craft enthusiasts grew up with little brand loyalty. Instead of grabbing the same old favorites, the craft consumer now is likely to cruise the beer aisle looking for a new release or belly up to the nearby taproom for something fresh they’ve never tried – then take a crowler to go.

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