PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Craft beer is a rapidly growing industry in Oregon and a bill introduced Thursday in the U.S. Senate could help it grow even more.
“It’s going nowhere but up.” said Christian Etinger with Hopworks Urban Brewery. “It provides jobs, it’s an incredible economic impact and it’s one of the top five reasons people come to our state.”
Brewers like Etinger tell KOIN 6 News the business of beer is surging in Multnomah and Washington counties and throughout the state. Portland leads the nation in craft beer sales with 39.3 percent. The entire state brings in $6-billion a year from craft beer.
But according to Etinger, the gains could be even greater if the high federal excise tax was cut down.
“I know that every dollar that I can save, I’m going to put back into my business to grow infrastructure, create jobs and economic value.” Etinger said.
Oregon brewers pay around $57-million a year in combined state and federal excise taxes. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has proposed a bill to lower those federal excise taxes in an effort to boost the craft beverage industry.
“It’s a 21st century, powerful economic engine for Oregon.” said Wyden.
Both Wyden and Etinger think if the excise tax is lowered, it will keep more money local and add to the 40,000 jobs already related to the craft beer industry.