Q & A with Portland International Beerfest Owner Rick Carpenter

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This weekend, August 8-10th, is the 14th annual Portland International Beerfest, and there are some major changes to this long-running Portland institution. PIB, as it is called, has moved from its usual weekend in July to August and from the North Park Blocks in NW Portland to Holladay Park near Lloyd Center. We talked to festival organizer/founder Rick Carpenter about the changes and what makes this year’s fest better than ever.

Before you bemoan the venue change, realize that the new location by Lloyd Center is directly on the MAX line, and for those of you who drive to beer fests, the Mall at Lloyd Center is offering up its parking lot for FREE. I cannot think of another large beer fest with free parking (or much of any parking). Being in Holladay Park also means there are now drinking fountains, a large park fountain to run thru & cool off in, a huge stage area for bands, free croquet, and lots of shade.

Here are my 6 Questions for Rick Carpenter about PIB:

  1. How long have you been doing the Seattle and Portland International Beerfest?
14th year!

  1. This year brings about a couple major changes; to begin with, it moved from mid-July to mid-August. Why?
We really wanted to move to Holladay Park, which is incredible &under appreciated. Our usual mid-July dates were already taken there by STP (Seattle To Portland Bike Race). In addition, the city told us we cannot use that park for 4-5 weeks either before or after STP so they can control the “turf recovery” better. Hence, Aug 8-10 is where we landed for 2014, but it will only be for this year.
  1. The other big change is the venue, moving from the North Park Blocks to Holladay Park across from Lloyd Center. Again whats the reason for this big move?
North Parks Blocks was awesome and we loved it. For the first 7 years the park conditions were superb, but over the past 5 years the city has had serious problems keeping the grass alive due to a nearby school that was given permission to use the park as a playground during the summer. By 2013 our once beautiful grassy park was a tragic dust bowl. Grass & trees are a big part of what we do, so a change had to come.
  1. With an even bigger space and much different layout and obstacles, how will this affect the festival this year?
Plain and simple, if you don’t like crowds, THIS IS THE YEAR TO COME TO PIB. It will be wide open with an AMAZING set-up. Between the date changes, the fact that we are following OBF by a mere 12 days, moving out of downtown, several other major events occurring on the same weekend as us, and the inexplicable lack of support from the Oregon Brewers Guild, who appear to be actively working against us (though we don’t know why since they won’t return our calls), chances are our attendance will be a little on the lighter side this year.

EDIT 8/9/2014: The Oregon Brewers Guild is disputing the claim that they are not supporting and working against the fest and have asked that this quote be removed due to lack of evidence. We don’t like to edit interviews or direct quotes so we have noted what was said and the questions surrounding the statement. We here at The New School have no opinion or side on the issue. – Samurai Artist

  1. What advice do you have for fest-goers this year?
Just come. You’ll be glad you did. There’s 225 primo beers in a massive park that is completely overstaffed & loaded with awesome vendors and FREE STUFF to do. It will feel like you have it all to yourself w/ your own private service staff. Put in perspective, the new space is over 5x the size of old PIB, nearly 200,000 sf of shady, fountain laden “beer park.”
     6. Finally, what beer are you most looking forward to at the fest this year?

Ping pong. I will rule with an iron paddle!

Portland International Beerfest 2014 Fri Aug 8, 12pm-10pm (OPENING 4 HRS. EARLY!)
Sat Aug 9, 12pm-10pm
Sun Aug 10, 12pm-7pm

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: SamuraiArtist@NewSchoolBeer.com

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