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Welcome

Twenty-two years ago, three local microbreweries - Portland Brewing Co., Widmer Brothers Brewing Co., and BridgePort Brewing Co. - conspired to put on a microbrew festival in the city of Portland. The goal was to bring beers from outside the local market for Portlanders to drink. Microbrews were still fairly new, with only 124 craft breweries across the nation. Festival organizers wanted Portlanders to be able to compare local microbrews with those from other regions, so they would see what was happening elsewhere in the nation.

Thirteen breweries participated in the first year, with a total of sixteen beers on tap. The anticipated attendance was 5,000. When it was all said and done, more than 15,000 poured through the gates. The festival was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people. The weather was hot, and so was the refrigeration, leading to a great quantity of foamy beer. It didn't matter. People loved the Oregon Brewers Festival!

Fast-forward 22 years: today there are more than 1,400 craft breweries in the U.S., and the Oregon Brewers Festival has thrived, becoming one of the nation's longest-running and best loved craft beer festivals. It is the premier summer event for anyone who loves craft beer, or is visiting Portland in July. Located on the west bank of the Willamette River, with towering Mt. Hood as a backdrop, the Oregon Brewers Festival is quintessentially Portland, and the ideal venue to relax with friends and sip some suds.

The Oregon Brewers Festival is a true reflection on the immense popularity of American craft brewing, and the fact that the festival continues to draw vast crowds 22 years after its inception is a strong testament to the public's loyalty toward craft brews. More than 70,000 people will flock to Tom McCall Waterfront Park from all around the world this summer, generating an economic impact of approximately $1.5 million for the city of Portland. The purpose of the Oregon Brewers Festival has always been to provide an opportunity to sample and learn about craft beer. The number of breweries participating has more than quadrupled from that first year, now with 80 craft breweries from across the county showcasing a score of beer styles ranging from Amber to Wit.

In terms of operation, little has changed since the early days of the Oregon Brewers Festival. Volunteers (now numbering 2,000) pour the beer; industry exhibitors explain key ingredients; homebrewers visually describe their craft with on-site brewing; and vendors offer beer-related merchandise.

We realize that it is the media that helps spread the word about our successful event, and we are extremely appreciative. If there is anything we can do to help you with a story, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Cheers!
Chris Crabb (503) 314-7583
chrisc@oregonbrewfest.com


Fact Sheet

Event Name

22nd Annual Oregon Brewers Festival

Venue

Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland, Oregon
Main entrance at S.W. Oak Street and Naito Parkway

Dates

July 23, 24, 25 & 26, 2009 - "Always the last full weekend in July"

Times

Thurs through Sat, taps are open from Noon to 9 p.m.
Sun, taps are open from Noon to 7 p.m.
Token & mug sales cease one-half hour prior to the taps closing

Admission

Admission into the festival grounds if free. In order to consume beer at the OBF, you must purchase a taster package. Taster packages are available in $10, $20 and $50 increments. All packages include a 2009 souvenir mug, which is required for consuming beer (mugs from previous years will not be filled); a souvenir program that includes a map of where the beers are located onsite; and various quantities of tokens, which are used to purchase beer. Patrons pay four tokens for a full mug of beer, or one token for a taste. Additional tokens may be purchased at $1 apiece.

$10 package: one mug, one program, four tokens
$20 package: one mug, one program, 14 tokens
$50 package: two mugs, two programs, 38 tokens

Description

The Oregon Brewers Festival is one of the nation's longest running and best loved craft beer festivals. Situated on the west bank of the Willamette River, with towering Mt. Hood as a backdrop, it is the ideal venue for anyone who loves craft beer. With a laid back attitude and scores of award-winning beers, the festival reflects the essence of the city of Portland.

The Oregon Brewers Festival exists to provide an opportunity to sample and learn about a variety of craft beer styles from across the country. Eighty craft breweries from all parts of the nation offer handcrafted brews to 70,000 beer lovers during the four-day event.

The festival's focus is craft beer, but there's more than sampling involved. The event features live music all four days, beer-related vendors, beer memorabilia displays, beer writers and publishers, hop growers, homebrewing demonstrations, and an assortment of foods from a variety of regions. The Crater Lake Root Beer Garden offers complimentary handcrafted root beer for minors and designated drivers. Minors are always welcome at the festival when accompanied by a parent.

The Oregon Brewers Festival strongly encourages responsible drinking, and urges patrons to take advantage of the MAX Light Rail line, located just one block west of the festival on SW Oak Street. Go by bus, train or taxi, just don't drink and drive. The festival also offers free, on-site bicycle parking.

The Oregon Brewers Dinner, a ticketed event, is held on July 22; the Oregon Brewers Brunch & Parade, the official kick off to the festival, occurs the morning of July 23.

Contact Information

www.oregonbrewfest.com or 503.778.5917

Press Release

The popular Oregon Brewers Festival celebrates 22 years of craft beers

PORTLAND, Ore. - It's the event that brings together 80 craft breweries and 70,000 beer lovers for a celebration of beer. The 22nd annual Oregon Brewers Festival, one of the nation's longest-running and best-loved craft beer festivals, will take place July 23 through July 26 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland. Hours are Noon to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and Noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Eighty craft breweries from 14 different states will each send one product to serve at the event; an 81st beer, Collaborator, is a joint project between members of the Oregon Brew Crew homebrewing club and Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. More than 70,000 beer connoisseurs annually travel from around the world to sample more than two dozen beer styles, ranging from alt to wit.

Joining the breweries are industry exhibits by hop growers, homebrewers, breweriana collectors, and national beer writers and publishers. Four days of live music showcases the best high-energy talent the Northwest has to offer. Food booths sell meals and alternative beverages, while the Crater Lake Soda Garden provides handcrafted sodas free of charge to minors and designated drivers. Minors are allowed into the event when accompanied by a parent.

Admission into the festival grounds is free. In order to sample beer, a taster package is required. Taster packages are available in $10, $20 and $50 increments. All packages include a 2009 souvenir mug, which is required for consuming beer (mugs from previous years will not be filled); a souvenir program that includes a map of where the beers are located onsite; and various quantities of tokens, which are used to purchase beer. Patrons pay four tokens for a full mug of beer, or one token for a taste. Additional tokens may be purchased at $1 apiece. Sales of taster packages and tokens cease one half-hour prior to the close of the event each evening.

Alternative modes of transportation are encouraged, with free bicycle parking available each day. The main entrance is at SW Oak Street and Naito Parkway, one block from the MAX Light Rail line.

The Oregon Brewers Festival takes place during Oregon Craft Beer Month, a celebration of craft beer by Oregon's specialty breweries. A variety of special events will take place at craft breweries throughout the state, culminating with the Oregon Brewers Festival. The festival also hosts two ticketed auxiliary events: the Oregon Brewers Dinner, held on the eve of the festival opening, and the Oregon Brewers Brunch and Parade, a kick off to the festivities held the morning of July 23.

The Oregon Brewers Festival was founded in 1988 as an opportunity to expose the public to microbrews at a time when the craft brewing industry was just getting off the ground. Today, that industry has succeeded, especially in Oregon, and particularly in the city of Portland. There are currently 89 craft brewing facilities in Oregon, and 32 breweries operating within the Portland city limits - more than any other city in the world. The Portland metropolitan area boasts 40 breweries, making it the largest craft brewing market in the United States.

For more information about the Oregon Brewers Festival, visit www.oregonbrewfest.com or call the event hotline at 503-778-5917.

###

Note to Editor: Digital Images Available Upon Request

MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Crabb, 503.314.7583 or chrisc@oregonbrewfest.com


Oregon Brewers Festival History

Oregon has a love affair with beer that stretches back to 1888, when Portland brewer Henry Weinhard offered to pump beer from his brewery through the pipes of the Skidmore Fountain to celebrate its unveiling.

In the days before Prohibition, every beer was as individual as the brewmaster who made it. Back then, a strong thirst would send a man or woman down to the corner saloon for some cool lager drawn fresh from the tap. Usually the beer was made at a nearby brewery, and it was distinctive - rich in malts, hops and character. Then came Prohibition, wiping out nearly all the Pacific Northwest breweries. A handful carried on, but by the end of World War II, most local beer was poured from just a few regional kettles.

Then, starting in the early 1980s, a group of entrepreneurial beer lovers with a taste for beer and a head for business started individually opening small, commercial beer-making enterprises known as microbreweries.

The microbrewery, today more commonly referred to as the craft brewery, has brought back much of the old-style tradition of beermaking. Beers are once again made with all-natural ingredients: malt, hops and yeast. The beer is produced in small, handcrafted batches according to recipes that are far too costly and time-intensive for huge commercial breweries. But this time, ales, stouts and porters are the beer of choice rather than less-flavorful industrial lagers. Craft brewers didn't want to make the same product as the big brewers. They turned to ales, because the yeast provided more distinctive and varying flavors. Ales were also preferred because they took less equipment and one-third the amount of time to ferment.

The craft brewing movement was slow to start, but once it caught on, it exploded. In 1985, there were 21 craft breweries in America, including microbreweries, contract brewers (beer brewed by an entity that is not owned by the brewing company whose name is on the label) and brewpubs (a restaurant and brewery on the same premise). Today there are more than 1,400.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, there is a concentration of microbreweries unmatched anywhere in the country. Portland itself holds the honor of being America's unofficial brewpub capital, with more microbreweries and brewpubs than any other city in the world.

It was in Portland that Oregon's first microbrewery was opened. Chuck Coury started Cartwright Brewing Company in 1980 at 617 S.E. Main Street. The brewery lasted only two years - the beer wasn't great and the bottling was downright poor - but the response from Portland was enthusiastic. "The public forgave the beer's taste because they so much wanted a microbrewery in Oregon to work," said Nancy Ponzi, one of the founders of the Oregon Brewers Festival.

BridgePort Brewing Company was the next microbrewery to enter the Portland market, and is still very much alive today. Billed as "Oregon's oldest microbrewery," the brewery was started by Dick and Nancy Ponzi at 1313 N.W. Marshall Street.

The two used word of mouth to invite people in, since microbrews still were so new to the general consumer. "People were so intrigued with the idea that they overlooked our clutziness!" explained Nancy.

The idea of microbreweries began to catch on in Oregon, and so did the cooperative spirit. Brewers began working together to change the laws to allow the concept of a brewpub, citing that it was no different from having a tasting room in a winery. Oregon legislature viewed microbrewing as a homegrown industry that needed the help; thus, in 1985, the law changed. That same year, Mike and Brian McMenamin opened Oregon's first brewpub, the Hillsdale Pub.

Two brothers, Kurt and Rob Widmer, opened Oregon's third microbrewery. Widmer Brothers Brewing Company opened in the summer of 1985 at 929 North Russell Street. Brewmaster Kurt Widmer had traveled to Zum Urige, a prestigious brewery in Dusseldorf, German to learn about Altbier (old beer). As a result of his research, the brewery featured a distinctive group of top-fermented German-style beers.

Art Larrance and Fred Bowman opened Oregon's fourth microbrewery, Portland Brewing Company, in January 1986. It was Art who came up with the inspiration of the Oregon Brewers Festival. "I had traveled to Oktoberfest in Munich and knew what a big beer party was like," explained Art. "I wanted to create that atmosphere and expose the public to the variety of good microbrews. I also wanted an event that didn't judge beer, but rather provided an opportunity to sample a variety of beers in a mug, not a thimble."

Art approached Widmer, BridgePort and McMenamins to determine their interest in participating in a festival. McMenamins was busy with its own expansion plans and wanted to participate, but declined being an organizer. The remaining three, represented by Kurt Widmer, Nancy Ponzi and Art, established the Oregon Brewers Association and set off to plan the first festival.

None of the three had ever done a huge event like this before. "We were all flying by the seat of our pants," said Art. "It was a great learning experience."

Added Nancy, "it was great fun sitting down with no real plan or agenda as we each juggled tasks and ideas. It was a total unknown how it would happen."

"We wanted to bring beers from outside this market for Portlanders to drink," recalled Kurt. "We wanted people to be able to compare our beers with other regions so they would see what was happening elsewhere in the nation."

The three enlisted the help of everyone they knew to pull off the event. Family members and friends pitched in wherever they could to make the event work. The Oregon Brew Crew, an independent group of homebrewers, took on the responsibility of volunteers.

"Everyone knew how important this event was for the state and for the industry," explained Kurt. "It was a community effort that made it all come together."

Thirteen breweries participated in the first year, with a total of sixteen beers on tap. The anticipated attendance was 5,000. However, when the weekend was over, more than 15,000 had poured through the gates. The festival was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people. The weather was hot, and the beer was foamy due to refrigeration problems.

But what the organizers learned was that people were tolerant, well-mannered and enjoyed the festival atmosphere. Despite the glitches, the event came off amazingly well for a first-year event. "The immediate feeling afterward was that we were ready to do it again," said Nancy. "We were delighted with the response and thrilled that we were able to pull it off!"

The first festival was billed as an opportunity for sampling. The original idea was to bring in microbrews from outside of the region so people could sample what wasn't readily available to them. By exposing the public to microbrews, it gave legitimacy to the product.

"Brewers wanted to come to this festival for a variety of reasons," explained Kurt. "We were the first non-judging beer event. And we were brewers ourselves, not outside promoters. The brewers supported us because the event was incidental to what we were all doing."

According to Art, "the Oregon Brewers Festival is first and foremost a gathering of brewers. Coincidentally, there's a festival going on at the same time."

Because of the foresight of Art Larrance, Dick and Nancy Ponzi and Kurt and Rob Widmer, the Oregon Brewers Festival has grown by leaps and bounds during its 22-year history, both in terms of breweries and attendance. This year's event will feature 80 breweries from all across the nation. More than 70,000 people from around the world are expected to attend the four-day affair, sampling styles of beer that range from pales to pilsners to porters.


Oregon Beer Industry Facts

  • The total economic impact from the beer industry on Oregon's economy is $2.25 billion. 3
  • There are currently 73 brewing companies, operating 96 brewing facilities in Oregon. 1
  • There are 30 breweries operating in Portland, more than any other city in the world. 1
  • The Portland metro area has 38 breweries, more than any other metro area in the US. 1
  • The Portland metro area is the largest craft brewing market in the US. 2
  • Oregon breweries directly employ more than 5,200 people, many at family wage jobs. 1
  • Over the last five years Oregon breweries created 2,300 jobs. 1
  • Oregon is the second largest producer of craft beer in the US. 1
  • Oregon is the 4th largest craft beer market in the US in supermarket sales. 2
  • 37% percent of all draft beer consumed in Oregon is brewed in Oregon. 1
  • Oregon has the 4th highest percentage of beer draft sales in the US. 2
  • Oregonians consumed 2.72 million barrels of beer in 2008; of that, more than 327,000 barrels were made in Oregon or about 12 percent of the total beer consumed in Oregon - the highest percentage of local craft beer consumption in the country. 1,3
  • Oregon is the No. 2 hop growing state in the country with a 2008 crop value of $38,000,000, which ranks 18th in Oregon's five billion dollar agricultural economy. 4

Sources 1 Oregon Brewers Guild; 2 Brewers Association; 3 John Dunham and Associates, 2005; 4 Oregon Hop Commission;
5 U.S. Census Bureau; 6 Brewers Almanac; 7 Oregon Liquor Control Commission


Oregon's Beer History

Significant numbers of immigrants began to move to the Oregon Territory in the 1840s. It wasn't long before they had a thirst for beer, so when German brewer Henry Saxer arrived in 1852, tasted the clear, soft water from the nearby mountains and recognized the prime hop and grain growing potential, he started brewing.

Fellow immigrant Henry Weinhard opened his brewery in 1856. For the next 50 years the new residents of the young state enjoyed the fresh, traditional German lagers brewed by Weinhard and others. In 1888 Henry offered to send beer through Portland fire hoses to the dedication of the Skidmore Fountain a dozen blocks away near the waterfront. But the City's valuable fire hoses would have run close to Portland's seedy Skid Road, and civic leaders feared that the rough district's thirsty residents would puncture the hoses for a free drink.

Things changed when Oregonians voted to ban alcohol in 1914, five years before the 14th Amendment established a national prohibition. Weinhard's City Brewery switched to non-alcoholic beer, soft drinks and fruit syrups and managed to survive the nineteen dry years until Congress repealed prohibition in 1933. Along the way City Brewery merged with Portland Brewing Company, owned by Arnold I. Blitz. The resulting Blitz-Weinhard Brewery produced Oregon's best-known beer until 1999.

During the economic boom following WWII, beer suffered from the same move toward national production and distribution that put more processed foods on American dinner tables. By 1980, the number of breweries in the entire country had shrunk to just 80, "and the prediction was that there would only be 10 left by 1990," said beer brewer and writer Fred Eckhardt. But American palates were in revolt.

The social upheaval of the counter culture included the rejection of bland, processed, industrial food, and the college students of the 1960s were starting families and looking for alternatives.

In Portland, a group of college friends started Genoa, an Italian restaurant that didn't even serve spaghetti. Young wine makers were planting Pinot Noir on the red clay hills fifty minutes south of Portland, and two brothers named McMenamin were satisfying a growing demand for beer with flavor with a dizzying array of imports at a little cafe called Produce Row.

Cartwright's, Oregon's first craft brewery, opened in 1980. Aptly called a microbrewery since the production was miniscule compared to the industrial producers, its beer didn't attract a following and the brewery closed within a few years. But the response demonstrated that Oregon was ready for a different kind of beer, and when the state legislature made brewpubs legal in 1983, the brewers were ready.

Established winemakers Nancy and Dick Ponzi opened what would become BridgePort Brewing in an old rope factory located in the industrial district in NW Portland. A few blocks away, former homebrewers Kurt and Rob Widmer were pouring their first batch of Altbier. Mike and Brian McMenamin opened Oregon's first brewpub in the Hillsdale neighborhood in 1985.

The beer-friendly Oregon laws, a growing awareness of the high quality local ingredients, and a seemingly voracious thirst for well-made beer triggered a micro-boom in microbreweries. Full Sail opened in Hood River and became the first craft brewery in the Northwest to bottle its beers. What started as a small brewpub in Bend in 1988 evolved into Deschutes Brewery.

The first Oregon Brewers Festival in 1988 drew 15,000 people to sample 16 beers from 13 breweries under a big top tent in Portland's Tom McCall Waterfront Park. By 1990, with more craft breweries and brewpubs per capita than any other city in the United States, Portland is proclaimed "America's Microbrew Capital." Unofficially, it's Beervana.

Over the past few years, a new generation of brewers has emerged. Trained in the region's larger craft breweries, they're opening small, independent brew pubs and making unique, individualistic beers. Oregon's now home to 87 breweries. There are over 140 places you can go to and drink an Oregon Brewed beer owned by an Oregon Brewery. You can pick up a six-pack of local craft beer at almost any grocery store, and you can try special, seasonal brews right where they are made.


Oregon Beer Timeline

1852

German brewer Henry Saxer settles in Portland and opens Liberty Brewery.

1856

Henry Weinhard, a young German immigrant, moves to Portland. With a partner - the aptly named George Bottler - he establishes Portland's second brewery, City Brewery.

1862

Saxer sells Liberty Brewery to Henry Weinhard.

1864

Weinhard buys Bottler's interest in City Brewery in what is now Portland's Pearl District. (The modern Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Company, Inc., operated at this site until 1999.) Henry Weinhard's lager becomes famous throughout the Northwest and is shipped as far away as China and Siberia.

1888

Weinhard offers to pump beer from his brewery via Portland's fire hoses through the pipes of the Skidmore Fountain for the fountain's grand opening. Weinhard's generous offer is vetoed by nervous civic leaders, who fear that residents will help themselves to the beer before it reaches the fountain by poking holes in the city's valuable fire hoses.

1912

Lumber baron Simon Benson donates 20 beautifully sculpted bronze drinking fountains to the city. Benson, a teetotaler, wants to make a liquid other than beer available to Portland's residents. Following the installation of the "Benson Bubblers," beer consumption reportedly drops by nearly 25 percent. (Although the fountains still grace Portland's streets, the popularity of beer has never been greater.)

1914

A stateside prohibition on the manufacture and sale of liquor is passed in Oregon - five years before the 18th Amendment is ratified by Congress. Weinhard's City Brewery survives by producing non-alcoholic beer, soft drinks, fruit drinks, syrups and flavorings.

1920

Prohibition begins nationally.

1928

Prohibition inspires a merger of the Weinhard City Brewery and Portland Brewing Company, owned by Arnold I. Blitz. The Blitz-Weinhard merger reduces competition and increases profits, allowing both businesses to weather the dry years.

1933

Prohibition is repealed when Congress ratifies the 21st Amendment.

1979

Home brewing is signed into law by President Jimmy Carter. The Cranston Bill, introduced by Senator Alan Cranston, allows a single person to brew up to 100 gallons (378 liters) of beer annually for personal enjoyment and up to 200 gallons (756 liters) in a household of two or more persons aged 18 or older.

1980

Winemaker Charles Coury opens the Cartwright Brewing Company, Portland's first craft brewery since Prohibition. Coury's business, although short-lived, provides valuable lessons for future craft brewers.

1984

BridgePort Brewing Company, Portland's oldest existing craft brewery, begins operation under the moniker "Columbia River Brewery." The facility is housed in an 1888 building, a former hemp rope factory in Northwest Portland. Founded by the Ponzi family, owners of Ponzi Vineyards in the Willamette Valley, the brewery is renamed following the success of one of its beers: BridgePort Nut Brown Ale.

1985

Kurt and Rob Widmer establish the German-style Widmer Brothers Brewing Company in Northwest Portland, just one block from BridgePort. Sales of Widmer Weizen skyrocket and continue to grow after the 1986 introduction of Widmer's most popular brew - Widmer Hefeweizen (aka "America's Original Hefeweizen"), a light-bodied, lemon-flavored wheat beer. (The Hefeweizen is the first step in mass consumer acceptance of the fresh, assertive beer styles produced by Portland's craft brewers.)

1985

The Oregon Legislature passes a law enabling brewers to sell beer directly to the public. Mike and Brian McMenamin take advantage of this law to open Oregon's first brewpub, the Hillsdale Brewery and Public House. The McMenamin brothers go on to open nearly 60 breweries/brewpubs in Oregon and Washington, including eight theater-pubs. Other McMenamins properties include the Crystal Ballroom and seven hotels and bed-and-breakfast-style inns. Among these is the 38-acre McMenamins Edgefield, a 100-room historic landmark inn with on-site brewery, winery and distillery, theater, golf course, restaurants and bars, meeting rooms and gardens.

1986

The BridgePort Brew Pub opens at the BridgePort Brewing Company.

1986

The Portland Brewing Company, founded by Art Larrance and Fred Bowman, opens as Oregon's fourth craft brewery. Mid-'80s Favorable legislation, an abundance of readily available beer ingredients, and a growing demand for specialty beers by Oregon residents encourage an explosion of breweries. Over the next 10 years, dozens of new craft breweries will open.

1987

Full Sail Brewing Company begins operation in Hood River, Ore. Full Sail is one of the first craft breweries to market its product in bottles.

1988

The first Oregon Brewers Festival, held in Portland's Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, attracts a crowd of 15,000 to sample 16 beers from 13 breweries. The event grows to become North America's largest gathering of independent brewers. The four-day celebration, which now features about 90 beers from 72 of the nation's best craft breweries, attracts more than 50,000 people.

1990

With more craft breweries and brewpubs per capita than any other city in the United States, Portland is proclaimed "America's Microbrew Capital."

1992

The Oregon Brewers Guild is founded with the primary goal of promoting the common interests of its members and the brewing industry in Oregon.

1995

The Ponzi family sells BridgePort Brewing Company to The Gambrinus Company, the company responsible for transforming Corona Extra from a little-known import to a high-demand yuppie brew.

1996

Widmer Brothers moves to a $20 million, 65,000-square-foot brewery in northeast Portland. In May the company begins bottling its signature brew, Hefeweizen, then the top-selling craft beer in Oregon.

1998

The Oregon Brewers Guild introduces the "Quality & Integrity Mark," the nation's first craft beer quality-assurance program.

1999

The Blitz-Weinhard Brewery closes its doors after 143 years. On their last day of work, employees hang their work boots from various high points in the brewery as a parting gesture. Rights to the Weinhard name are purchased by Miller Brewing Company.

1999

Full Sail Brewing of Hood River, Ore., becomes "America's only employee-owned brewery" when ownership is transferred to the 54 employees.

1999

The Oregon Brew Crew is named "Homebrew Club of the Year" by the American Homebrewers Association.

2000

Portland Brewing Company becomes the first Northwest craft brewery to can its beer.

2001

Self-distribution legislation, championed by the Oregon Brewers Guild and allowing small brewers (those whose production capacity is less than 500 barrels) to sell their beer without having to join a distribution network, takes effect.

2003

The Oregon Brewers Guild helps to double the production capacity for self-distribution from 500 to 1,000 barrels.

2004

Seattle-based Pyramid Breweries buys Portland Brewing Company in August. The brewing and bottling of 22-ounce Pyramid Hefeweizen moves to the Portland location.

2004

In October, Robert "Mac" MacTarnahan, the patriarch of the Portland Brewing Company, dies in his sleep at age 89. He had just attended a party celebrating the renaming of the former Portland Brewing Company's Taproom as MacTarnahan's Taproom.

2004

Beer production in Oregon grows by an unprecedented 10 percent.

2005

Oregon's first all-organic brewery, Roots Brewing Company, opens in Southeast Portland.

2006

Under the leadership of representatives Peter DeFazio (Oregon) and Sherwood Boehlert (New York), the U.S. House of Representatives gives unanimous consent to House Resolution 753, which commends America's craft brewers for their many and varied contributions to our nation's communities, economy, culture and history. In addition, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski and Portland Mayor Tom Potter declare July - the same month in which the annual Oregon Brewers Festival is held - to be Oregon Craft Beer Month.

2008

Oregon's first eco-brewpub, Hopworks Urban Brewery, opens in Southeast Portland.

2009

Oregon's brewing industry bands together to fight proposed House Bill which would add a nearly $50 per barrel increase on beer taxes - an increase of over 1900% - making the Oregon beer excise tax the highest in the country.

Story Ideas

More breweries in Portland than in Munich

One of Portland's nicknames used to be "Munich on the Willamette." But that's so last century. With 30 breweries in the city limits, Portland has more breweries than Munich - that Bavarian burg once regarded as the world's beer capital. And, as a matter of fact, back in 1997 the total of craft breweries in the United States surpassed the number in Germany. There are more than 1,400 craft breweries in the United States, while Germany has about 1,250.

Brewers Association, 303.447.0816, www.beertown.org

Homegrown ingredients set Oregon brews apart

Oregon's mild climate, similar to that of Europe's growing regions, is ideal for producing plentiful hop crops. Oregon produces 17 percent of the nation's hops and five percent of the world's hops. Recognizing these benefits granted by Mother Nature, breweries throughout the United States and the world look to Oregon for hops that will satisfy the tastes of today's sophisticated beer drinker. In the Willamette Valley alone, 10 different hop varieties are grown. Among the most popular are Cascade, Nugget and Willamette, developed at Oregon State University under the direction of the USDA. Oregon Hop Commission, 503.982.7600, www.oregonhops.org

Collaborator Project

In 1997, a group of homebrewers was quaffing some beers with Rob Widmer at Widmer Bros. Brewing Co. in Portland. The discussion turned to beer styles that weren't represented among the craft brewers in America. The brewers bemoaned the fact that they had to rely on European imports for esoteric styles. The Widmer brothers, Kurt and Rob - who both began their career as homebrewers - saw a unique opportunity. They went on to challenge the Oregon Brew Crew homebrewing club to hold an annual competition, in which the best of the club's beers, regardless of style, would be brewed and served by Widmer Bros. Brewing. The concept was simple: The Oregon Brew Crew would supply the creativity, while Widmer would provide the industry expertise to take a homebrew recipe and make it in a commercial facility. The cooperative project became known as Collaborator.

The Collaborator project has been going strong for more than a decade, producing memorable products and award-winning beers. From every barrel of Collaborator beer sold, $1 is donated to the Bob McCracken Scholarship Fund, which supports students at the Oregon State University Fermentation Science program. Collaborator is always the "extra tap" at the Oregon Brewers Festival.

Oregon Brew Crew, 503.493.4134, www.oregonbrewcrew.com

The McMenamin brothers: Beer barons and preservationists too

Mike and Brian McMenamin were pioneers of Portland's craft brewery renaissance, opening Oregon's first brewpub (Hillsdale Brewery & Public House in southwest Portland). In time, they began looking around for unusual locations for their breweries and restaurants. Then they began adding new features, such as movie theaters and lodging. Now the brothers have a well-deserved reputation as preservationists, saving old churches, schools and various other buildings in Oregon and Washington from uncertain fates and giving them new life as McMenamins properties. Good examples around Portland are McMenamins Edgefield, a 38-acre beer-lovers' resort that was once Multnomah County's poor farm; the Crystal Ballroom, with its magical "floating" dance floor; and the Kennedy School, a 1912 grade school where you can sleep in class and drink in detention.

McMenamins, 503.669.8610, www.mcmenamins.com

Green Beers

Most Oregon brewers engage in at least some form of "green" practices in the brewing process. Spent grain and yeast from brewers is given to farm animals as feed. Other farmers and landscapers use leftover spent grain to augment their soil, so very little if any of the state's breweries' byproducts find their way into the waste stream. A number of the state's breweries also utilize organic ingredients -- barley malt, wheat and hops -- in at least a few of their beers. Laurelwood Public House and Brewery was among the first to make its award-winning organic brews. Portland-based Roots Organic Brewing Co. was the first certified 100 percent organic brewpub in the state. And in 2008, Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) opened its doors as Portland's first Eco-Brewpub, offering all organic handcrafted beers and a sustainable building that incorporates all aspects of sustainability. HUB is Oregon's only brewery powered by 100% renewable energy.

Roots Organic Brewing Company, www.rootsorganicbrewing.com

Laurelwood Public House & Brewery, www.laurelwoodbrewpub.com

Hopworks Urban Brewery, www.hopworksbeer.com

Trendsetter or Mad Scientist?

Some call him a trendsetter, others, a mad scientist. Either way, Cascade Brewing brewmaster Ron Gansberg has emerged as one of Oregon's most innovative brewers, and is at the forefront of vanguard American craft brewing. In his own private battle against the "Northwest Hops Arms Race," he has turned to yeast and barrel-aging to produce flavor. There are typically 50 or more oak barrels racked in Cascade's brewhouse at any given time, aging and souring for months on end. Cascade Brewing's ultra-premium, barrel-aged, lactic-fermented Belgian-style beers range from fruity blondes to robust reds.

Cascade Brewing, 503-296-0110, www.raclodge.com

Oregon Brewers Guild

In the early 1990s several local brewers met informally to discuss common issues, problems and opportunities. In 1992, this group evolved into the Oregon Brewers Guild, a dynamic trade organization that represents a majority of the state's craft breweries. Its primary mission is to promote the common interests of the members and the brewing industry in Oregon by supporting the marketing and promotional efforts of Oregon's breweries, and by educating beer enthusiasts about Oregon's indigenous craft beers. The Guild is also very involved with lobbying and legislative work. The Oregon Brewers Guild maintains an interactive website where craft beer enthusiasts can find the latest news from their favorite Oregon breweries and stay up to date on events happening around the state. The site offers brewery and brewpub descriptions, information on the styles of beer produced, and maps and directions to the many establishments. Visit the website at www.oregonbeer.org.

Oregon Brewers Guild, 503.288.2739, www.oregonbeer.org

S.N.O.B.s

One of the Oregon Brewers Guild's most popular programs is its S.N.O.B. (Supporter of Native Oregon Beer) membership. This program for the general public allows SNOB members to show off their impeccable taste in craft beverages and at the same time get a backstage pass to what's going on behind the scenes in Oregon's craft brewing industry. Annual membership dues are $20, which includes an official membership card, a T-shirt, a bumper sticker, an email newsletter, discounts on events, and invitations to regional gatherings.

Oregon Brewers Guild, 503.288.2739, www.oregonbeer.org

None Before 21 (0b421) Campaign

The OBF promotes responsible drinking, and as a result, we have responsible attendees who come together to celebrate our local culture. This is why we have a long-standing history of being a family-friendly event. We will always strive to allow minors into our event when accompanied by a parent. We also believe in educating minors and parents about the potential dangers of underage drinking. As such, we are pleased to have with us members of the Wallowa Valley Together Project, including high-school students of TADA (Teens Against Drugs & Alcohol), promoting their "0b421" campaign. Located in the tiny town of Enterprise, Oregon, the Wallowa Valley Together Project exists to support efforts that promote healthy communities. Its purpose is to provide citizens with the necessary tools to create lasting, effective change within families, schools, neighborhoods, and communities. Needing to find a way to provide information and increase awareness locally to multiple target populations about the potential dangers, risks, and unhealthy community norms associated with underage drinking, WVTP developed the "none before 21" campaign. Local high school and elementary students helped with designing a single logo that would quickly communicate the message, look appealing, and be applicable to all audiences. Under the direction of Andrea Tyler, the campaign has been hugely successful, and has spawned an online store carrying a complete line of "0b421" items, from mouse pads to java jackets and car magnets to dog tags.

Wallowa Valley Together Project, www.wvtp.org.

Homebrewing enthusiasts in Oregon

The 21st Amendment that repealed prohibition neglected to legalize the homebrewing of beer. It wasn't until Nov. 1978 that Congress passed a bill repealing Federal restrictions on the homebrewing of small amounts of beer. President Jimmy Carter signed the bill into law in Feb. 1979, and most states soon followed suit. The opportunity to produce alcoholic beverages at home was seized upon enthusiastically, and the nation moved rapidly into the brewing of beer. The Oregon Brew Crew, located in Portland, is one of the largest clubs in North America. Founded in 1979, Oregon Brew Crew members are brewers of all experience levels, from the extract brewer just finishing his or her first batch, to brewers turned professional with successful craft breweries. The group's monthly meetings, workshops and classes are great places to learn more about beer, brewing, judging and history. www.oregonbrewcrew.com

Heart of the Valley Homebrewers is an American Homebrewers Association (AHA) registered homebrew club based in the Willamette Valley. This group hosts the Pacific Northwest's oldest homebrew competition every year, the Oregon Homebrew Festival. www.hotv.org

Deer Island Brewers in Deer Island reaches out to homebrew fans in Columbia County. The group shares information, recipes and different brewing techniques, as well as sponsoring two AHA events each year. www.deerislandbrewery.com


Blogging Beer

With so many craft breweries in the U.S., tastings, brewer meetups, beer dinners and pairings can happen at the drop of a hop cone. Even the most diligent of beer aficionados can barely keep up. So how does a beer fan keep in the know? Enter the beer blog.

Blogs can range from very personal diaries to community discourses and event announcements, depending on the subject matter and author. There are literally hundreds of blogs in the Internet with a focus on craft beer.

The subject matter on these blogs can range from notations on new beer releases to what happened to the pub down the street. Most allow comments from readers so that lively discussion is encouraged, creating an environment in which new information spews forth more vociferously than an uncapped bottle of shaken beer - and all you need to access this community is a computer and the Internet. We couldn't begin to list all of the beer blogs out there, but here is a sampler tray of some of our favorites:

A Good Beer Blog
Appellation Beer
Asheville Beer Blog
Beaumont's Beer Blog
Beer Advocate
Beer Cook.com
Beer Me
Beer Northwest
Beer Travelers
Beer, Beats & Bites
Beervana
Brewpublic
Brookston Beer Bulletin
Guest on Tap
The Full Pint
Hail the Ale
Bottoms Up
It's Pub Night
Joe Six Pack
NW Brewing
Pacific Brew News
Portlandbeer.org
Pro Brewer
Rate Beer
Real Beer Blog
Real Beer Page
Seven Pack Beer Blog
Southern Brew News Online
The Beer Here
The Brew Site
World of Beer

Can't get your fill of beer blogs? Google offers a blog search at http://blogsearch.google.com/. Keep sampling until you find the ones that best suit your palate.


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