WASHINGTON - Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said Tuesday he has been named co-chair of the Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus, which includes 20 senators from 14 states.
"With 161 brewing companies in Oregon employing 6,400 full and part-time employees, the small brewers are an important part of the Oregon economy," Wyden said.
"Leading this caucus with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) at a time when small breweries are becoming a part of communities across the nation is an opportunity to make all members of Congress aware of the how breweries are becoming an important part of the national economy as well," the senator added.
The Brewers Association estimates that the craft brewing industry contributed $33.9 billon to the U.S. Economy in 2012 and provided more than 360,000 jobs, with 108,440 jobs directly at breweries and brewpubs.
The purpose of the caucus, which was established in June 2011, is to "provide a forum for members of the Senate and their staffs to discuss the issues important to small brewers while exploring what lawmakers can do to strengthen the growth and role of these small businesses in local economies across the country."
Other members include Mark Begich (D) and Lisa Murkowski (R) of Alaska; Michael Bennet (D) and Mark Udall (D) of Colorado; Thomas Carper (D) and Chris Coons (D) Delaware; Saxby Chambliss (R) of Georgia; Jerry Moran (R) of Kansas; Ben Cardin (D) and Barbara Mikulski (D) of Maryland; Amy Klobuchar (D) of Minnesota; Claire McCaskill (D) of Missouri; Jon Tester (D) of Montana; Jeanne Shaheen (D) of New Hampshire; Charles Schumer (D) of New York; D), Jeff Merkley (D) of Oregon; Mark Warner (D) of Virginia; and Maria Cantwell (D) of Washington.
To see an interactive map of the 191 open or planned Oregon breweries, click here: : http://bit.ly/NE9pf4 .