StateWays Nov/Dec 2015

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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StateWays ■ ■ November/December 2015 32 Oregon is a state facing widespread concerns about economic development. However, its wine industry is booming and new craft distilleries are on the rise. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) decided it was time to step back and assess the economic impact its work has across the state. Recognizing an opportunity to showcase the scope of its reach and to share informa- tion with the Oregon legislature, the OLCC hosted a one-day event of educational panels designed to high- light the importance of the state's craft alcohol beverage industry and outline its effect on the state economy. Participants included founders from Oregon's wine, beer, and spirits industries, Oregon's state economist and representatives from various craft beverage associations such as the Oregon Wine Board, Distillers Guild, Brewers Guild and Northwest Cider Board. Each presentation illustrated a different aspect of how wide Oregon's craft alcohol industry reaches and how vital it is to sustaining a strong local economy - particularly workforce opportunities. "The community really came together for this event," says Steven Marks, Executive Di- rector of the OLCC. "It turned out to be pretty signifi cant." The panels were held in Bend, Oregon on September 12, 2014, featuring 17 speakers and attracting approximately 100 attendees from across the indus- try. The event was held for mem- bers of the Legislative Joint Inter- im Task Force on OLCC, along with OLCC commissioners for a joint public meeting. Four different panel presentations were offered, two of which were led by members of Or- egon's craft industry lead- ers and various boards/ associations represent- ing the beer, wine, cider, and spirits industries. The other two panels highlighted workforce opportunities and industry development in areas including agriculture, tourism, marketing, and hospitality. An economist also spoke to the group about the industry's overall eco- nomic impact. The Oregon Wine Board estimated that Oregon's wine economy has a $2.7 billion impact across the state. The Or- egon Brewers Guild estimated a $1.6 billion eco- nomic impact. In addition to revenue, the panels also highlighted the industry's effect on the job market. The Oregon Craft Beverage Council estimated that brewer- ies, distilleries and wineries across the state account for 20,350 total jobs. Ultimately, the panels served as an excellent forum for bringing industry leaders together to talk about issues before both OLCC commissioners and legislators. It also gave people an opportunity to network and identify new opportunities for collaboration. Additionally, it created an opportunity to recognize the commission's role an in- dustry partner. "We've had good relationships across the industry before, but this helped to solidify it," says Ranee Nieder- meyer, Legislative Director with the OLCC. A major testament to the success of the panels is that, in the legislative session following the event, several bills were introduced by members of the task force. As a result, legislation was passed that made signifi cant improvements to the brewery and distillery industries. Bill HB 2567 now permits distilleries to jointly operate tasting rooms, pour mixed tastes and drinks and allows bulk transfer between distilleries. Bill SB 138 allows brewpubs to distribute up to 7,500 barrels of malt beverage annually, shifting the cap from production to distribution. And Bill SB 623 removes the cap for winer- ies that wish to hold full-commercial licenses, allowing them to sell beer, wine and spirits by the glass. The panels also proved to be a valuable public relations tool for the commission. The event generated a lot of local media coverage and has resulted in the OLCC be- ing contacted by reporters more frequently to comment WINNER CONTROL STATE BEST PRACTICES AWARDS BEST LEGISLATIVE OUTREACH PROGRAM THE ECONOMICS OF CRAFT INDUSTRY PANELS By Melissa Niksic

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