BEND, Ore. — Deschutes Brewery has laid off 10 percent of its workforce, saying business hasn’t met expectations over the past two years.
The precise number of workers affected was not known. The cuts come after the 30-year old Bend, Oregon, brewery pulled back on plans to build a brewing facility in Roanoke.
“We have made the hard decision to reduce staff across sales, marketing and operations by 10 percent to match our sales volume,” said Michael LaLonde, Deschutes Brewery CEO and president. “This decision was extremely difficult to make, but necessary for the brewery given current market conditions and trends.”
The craft brewing industry has been experiencing a slowdown in the past year, the result of a maturing market. Much of the slowdown is due to the industry being crowded with brewers, said Bart Watson, Brewers Association chief economist.
“It’s slower growth and in a more competitive market than we’ve seen in the past,” Watson said. “Those that are more widely distributed brewers like Deschutes are [feeling] this the hardest.”
The industry employs 135,000 people at breweries and brewpubs, according to the Brewers Association, a craft brewing trade organization based in Colorado.
Deschutes is ranked 10th in craft brewing and 20th in overall beer sales volume, according to the Brewer’s Association. Deschutes brewed nearly 400,000 barrels in 2017. The number of craft brewers in Oregon has more than doubled from 124 in 2011 to 266 in 2017, according to the association.
Earlier this year , Deschutes told Roanoke officials it had experienced declining sales and would scale back plans to build a $95 million East Coast brewery at the Roanoke Centre for Industry and Technology and employ 108 workers.
Deschutes also opted to forego incentives tied to a performance agreement that included starting construction and production on a certain timeline. The company bought a smaller parcel in June at the city industrial park for $3.2 million.
Deschutes originally planned to break ground there by mid-2019 but LaLonde said earlier this month that timetable would be delayed indefinitely.
The Roanoke Times contributed to this report.