Most Oregon breweries per capita:

1. Cannon Beach

2. Astoria

3. Hood River

4. Newport

5. Roseburg

6. Bend

7. Grants Pass

8. Portland

9. Corvallis

10. Eugene

Oregonians who want to work in the brewing industry have better odds of finding a job in a pub than a production house. That’s according to a new report from Central Oregon Regional Economist Damon Runberg, who found that brewpubs account for about 68 percent, or 5,560 of the industry’s jobs.

“Not only are pubs the largest employers, but they are also the fastest growing,” Runberg said. Over the past year, pubs added around 460 jobs, a 9 percent growth rate, while manufacturing breweries netted 12 new jobs, he said.

No place illustrates the point better than Boneyard Beer’s soon-to-open pub on NE Division Street in Bend. The pub will employ 40 to 50 people, while the brewery, which is one of the largest in Bend, employs 16, said General Manager Jon Avella. Although the Deschutes County unemployment rate is below 4 percent, Avella said it hasn’t been difficult to hire staff.

There’s a lot of interest in the Boneyard brand, and front-of-house staff found their way to him through word-of-mouth.

Just three years ago, Oregon’s breweries were hiring at a double-digit pace, adding 13 new jobs in 2015. That slowed to 6.2 percent in 2017, reflecting slowing growth in the industry overall, Runberg said.

Central Oregon’s brewing industry was a little stronger, adding about 100 jobs for a 7.6 percent growth rate last year, Runberg said.

Bend has more breweries — 17 — than any city but Portland, which has 66, Runberg said.

Contrary to popular belief, Bend does not have the most breweries per capita in Oregon. That title goes to Cannon Beach, which has one brewery for every 570 residents.

Boneyard expects the brewpub, which will open in a couple of weeks, to have a significant impact on overall sales, Avella said.

When the pub opens, the retail side of the tasting room at 37 NW Lake Place will close, and Division Street will become the place for customers to fill kegs, growlers and 32-ounce cans, also known as “crowlers.”

Boneyard is opening the pub, in part, to increase exposure to the brand and beer styles that aren’t as widely known as its popular RPM India pale ale, Avella said.

One cannot find Boneyard beers in bottles or cans at a grocery store, and the pub allows the brewery to grow while sticking with the practice of selling beer only on draft, Avella said.

“They are much more comfortable with eliminating steps it takes to get fresh beer to the customer,” he said. “We feel keg beer is the freshest beer you can get. We’re proud of that.”

If Boneyard’s new pub increases overall sales, that might or might not lead to more jobs in the production brewery. “There (are) economies of scale for some of these larger manufacturing breweries,” Runberg said. “Oftentimes they can increase production without a huge increase in hiring.”

Wages in manufacturing breweries are 45 percent higher than in brewpubs, Runberg said, and that makes sense because most of the pub jobs are typical of restaurants.

But people who work in brewpubs need to know beer well, Avella said. Boneyard’s six-person tasting room staff will be central to the new pub’s staff with all of them working full-time, he said. Other staff members will have to be prepared to educate customers about beer in general and Boneyard Beer in particular, he said. “At the end of the day, that’s what people are coming in for,” he said.

— Reporter: 541-617-7860, kmclaughlin@bendbulletin.com

20714883