The Plans Migration Has to Use This Award to Better All of Craft Beer

Migration Brewing was recently named Oregon’s 2024 Small Business of the Year, marking the first time a craft brewery in the state has received this honor. 

As part of the national celebration for Small Business Week starting April 28, Migration will represent Oregon at an official award ceremony in Washington D.C. The week-long event will feature access to federal resources, opportunities to connect with industry experts, and various events including a roadshow tour and a virtual summit. 

Locally, Migration will host a celebration party at its Gresham production facility on May 2, coordinated with the Oregon SBA office.

CEO & co-founder McKean Banzer-Lausberg shared with Brewer more about this achievement. 

BREWER: How did you get nominated for this achievement and what were the steps needed to take to be nominated?
BANZER-LAUSBERG: Migration Brewing was nominated by the Portland SBDC office and then we filled out an extensive application.  We have worked with the SBDC since 2011 and they felt our company story was compelling for the award. 

BREWER: Why does winning this mean something special to you and your staff, and even the craft beer industry?
BANZER-LAUSBERG: This award is special to us because it encapsulates and recognizes the contribution our company has made to the local economy through sustained growth, jobs, response to adversity and community engagement over the past 15 years. As the first Oregon craft brewery to win, we believe it’s important for people to understand the importance of craft beverage companies to our region’s economic recovery.  

BREWER: What are you hoping to get out of the upcoming virtual summit and awards ceremony?
BANZER-LAUSBERG: We look forward to meeting and networking with other small business owners and award winners. Specifically we’ll also be looking for new distribution and exporting opportunities. We also want to make sure that federal politicians are aware of the continued challenges that the craft beer industry faces. 

BREWER: Be it in styles, ingredients, business strategies or sales & marketing techniques, what are some recent industry trends that you’ve tried or are excited about trying this year?
BANZER-LAUSBERG: Lagers, Pilsners and WC IPAs!  We’re very excited about getting involved in the Non-Alcoholic segment.  

BREWER: What are some adaptations to business practices in the industry that you’ve observed over these past few years, and how has your brewery adjusted to stay competitive?
BANZER-LAUSBERG: Migration Brewing has been very focused on delivering high quality products while keeping tight controls on COGS and expenses.  In addition, we have sought out creative pop-up retail projects and contract brewing opportunities that allow us to grow without large capital investments or long-term contractual commitments.  Best-in-class customer service and strong business partnerships are essential to thriving in the current craft market.

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