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Tips To Engage Portland’s Craft Beer Tourists

Friday, April 22, 2016

Boston. Denver. San Diego… Portland, Oregon.


While Boston, Denver, and San Diego are all good contenders, Portland, Oregon easily tops the list as best beer town in America. The reason? The city boasts the most breweries per capita and the most breweries of any city in the country (76 in the Portland metro area and counting). So it’s no surprise that a central part of tourism here is centered around craft beer.


In fact, the tourism data is pretty clear – travelers are looking to Portland for expertise, knowledge and new experiences related to craft beer. Eight in ten (81%) visitors to Portland had planned to participate in a craft beer experience prior to departing for their vacation.




For Portland businesses, here are a few key points to keep in mind as tourism season starts to ramp up across Oregon:

Be top of mind – PR is hugely important, particularly for beer brands.


Half (49%) of all visitors who attended a beer tasting event or festival in Portland indicated it was the primary reason for their trip; only 3% said it was an incidental activity.


The same goes for taking a brewery tour — 48% say it was the primary reason for their trip.


That means reading up on breweries and beer events is key to promoting Portland tourism and, even more importantly, patronage of your brand. Visitors are looking to Portland for craft beer experience; meet them halfway by getting your name and brand out there.


Open your brewery doors – Visitors want to engage with you!


The ability to meet brewers’ tops being able to tour breweries as a factor that influences people to travel to Portland.  (73% of visitors say, compared to 66%).

For breweries – Be innovative.


There are a ton of other breweries in Portland and this is part of the draw.


Stand out by throwing unique events, engaging in festivals and offering innovative beer styles. Variety of beer styles is the most important aspect encouraging beer tourism to Portland.

For other brands – Embrace craft beer culture. Partner with your fellow Portland breweries at events or through product launches.


Oregon is revered for its focus on community.


Hyper-local Portland start-ups Jacobsen Salt Co. and Bee Local have merged to great success (Bee Local sales grew 1000% after Jacobsen bought them).


Bob’s Red Mill partners with Tillamook to create Greek yogurt parfaits; Alma uses Woodblock chocolate and Jacobsen Salt Co.


And this year, Watershed created a program with the Oregon Brewers Guild to feature local chocolate makers at Portland breweries for Zwicklemania, the annual one-day event in Oregon when breweries open their doors to the casual and hardcore beer fans… now this is the type of collaboration we’re talking about!



* Portland craft beer tourism statistics provided by Travel Portland, Visitor Industry Research, 2016.




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