As someone who works in the craft beer/distilling industries in Portland, I want to offer a rebuttal to your recent article regarding tasting rooms supposedly operating at an advantage over bars (“As brewery tasting rooms thrive, traditional bars in a froth,” Page A1, Feb. 28).

Bars don’t make alcohol. Nor do they have to spend the $500,000-plus on brewing/distilling equipment. In fact, they get to purchase beer for a significant discount and then mark up that beer to sell to their patrons.

An average craft six-barrel in this town will sell to a bar for between $65 and $160 (a consumer will spend double that). That’s roughly 40 16-ounce beers (a size that has nearly disappeared, as most bars sell craft beers in 12-ounce pours).

Simple math will provide the per-ounce cost. You’ll quickly realize that bars are making more money than the brewery on product that they simply pour into a glass.

This is even truer regarding liquor, which is taxed at an exponentially higher rate than beer, resulting in distilleries making very little money per bottle sale. After production, licensing, labor, taxes, packaging, etc., there isn’t much money left over.

The tasting room is the only reason this town has the privilege of hosting so many breweries and distilleries. Without them, there would be no booze.

Portland is hardly struggling to provide bar/restaurant owners with patrons. We’re among the cities in the country with the most bars and restaurants per capita. If they can’t survive here, it is nobody’s fault but their own. We have raised the standards in this pretty little town. Bar owners should rise to the challenge or give up their lease for the next grand opening.

Support your local craft makers. Local farms produce local grains, and local men and women make local liquid that we stand in line to buy.

Joshua Langlais

Portland