I won’t get into all the numbers, the Willamette Week does a great job in their article, but Portland’s breweries are taking a hit lately. The biggest ones anyway, and the decline is kind of staggering. However, I am not here to get into why that might be happening, because who needs facts, right? More so I am going to be looking at it from a very high-level, and why I think it’s on the decline for the city’s biggest names in beer.
I used to scoff at the craft beer crowd. It’s beer, who cares? Wow was I wrong. While some of their creations can be a bit out there, a lot of what has been brewed is awesome, and has turned the beer world on it’s ear when it comes to choice. However, that’s the problem, the choice.
It seems like every week there’s a new beer coming out at one of these breweries, let alone the seasonal changes. There’s too many to choose from, and a lot of times one I find will only be around for a limited time if it doesn’t catch on in a huge way. However, the need to keep churning out new beers is insatiable out here, and in the beer world as a whole. While I understand it, it makes for a volatile market with little stability for the consumer.
The other big thing is how saturated the market in Portland is. Every time you go into a new pub there’s a vastly different beer list. Even the large places with 20+ taps often have a diverse selection with little overlap. Obviously the brew pubs have their own brands, with some smaller, guest taps on a rare occasion, but again, not much room for consistency.
It appears the thought of an ever-growing market may have reached it’s peak in Portland. There’s only so many people here, and only so many opportunities to have a beer. If you keep flooding the market with new choices and new breweries, you push people into their comfort zones. Hence why I stick to that lovely, local, nectar of the gods, Rainier!