Four year old local beer rag the Oregon Beer Growler has been sold to News-Register Publishing, the outlet responsible for the Yamhill County News-Register community paper and Oregon Wine Press. The McMinnville-based company purchased Oregon Wine Press in 2006; that publication was the model that Oregon Beer Growler founder Gail Oberst based her paper on. If you have ever found yourself sitting at the bar of your local brewery or pub, you may have noticed the stack of large format newspapers featuring sunny covers of Oregon beer personalities. You may have even leafed through a copy of OBG on a regular basis, checking out the homebrewing column or the regular adventures of Andi Prewitt, Oregon Beer Growler editor since April 2014.
For the last few years Andi Prewitt has been the face of Oregon Beer Growler, since founder Gail Oberst handed the ownership reigns to her son Will Oberst, who then relocated to Seattle in a failed attempt to start a Washington Beer Growler off-shoot.
I have not always been a fan of Oregon Beer Growler or its management under Will Oberst, but after handing the content reigns over to Andi, OBG has been a passionate love letter to Oregon breweries and the rural industry success stories you might not hear about. At the same time the editorial grew, word of increasingly late paychecks and understaffing threatened to leave OBG to RIP, like its predecessor, Beer West Magazine. So news of Oregon Beer Growler’s sale to News-Register should be good news for its fans. New President/Publisher of OBG and News-Register Publishing, Jeb Bladine, weighed in on what’s in store with the monthly.
“First, we need to handle the hundreds of details in a transition such as this – new relationships, new marketplace, etc. – which makes it all the more fortunate for us to have Andi and others continuing their contributions to the magazine. Next, we quickly need to learn more about the many-faceted Oregon beer industry – just as we did with the Oregon wine industry 10 years ago after the acquisition of the Wine Press. And then, we hope to develop and launch some changes in the look and feel of the magazine that will upgrade the Oregon Beer Growler experience for our readers, clients and others in the industry.”
Alethea LaRowe (left) and Andi Prewitt (right)
Oregon Beer Growler has had a number of longtime regular and notable contributors, like Kris McDowell of the Beer Musings blog, Alethea LaRowe, Chris Jennings of Three Mugs Brewing and Alameda Brewing, and former Oregonian columnist John Foyston. With ownership and publishing changes often there is a change in staff and leadership. Leading the paper and keeping the whole publication afloat the last few years was editor Andi Prewitt. Happily, Jeb and the News-Register see’s her value:
“Right now, what works best is that we will be retaining the services of long-time OBG Editor Andi Prewitt and a diverse group of writers and photographers under her leadership. To that, our company adds its considerable expertise in sales, design, production, promotion and distribution. ” said Jeb Bladine on what’s working and what’s not with the paper.
Prewitt has been integrally involved with the change in ownership and the beginning of the transition:
“I’m thrilled to have News-Register Publishing take on the ownership role. After several meetings with the team the last few weeks, I’ve seen their enthusiasm for the future of this magazine. We both believe that Oregon Beer Growler has a foundation of stellar contributors and we can continue to grow given that solid base.”
For now, Oregon Beer Growler will continue uninterrupted without huge changes. Staying free at bars and breweries in Oregon except for single-copy subscribers. Coming soon, hopefully some upgrades.
“we hope to develop and launch some changes in the look and feel of the magazine that will upgrade the Oregon Beer Growler experience for our readers, clients and others in the industry.” said Jeb.
Those changes are expected to include nicer paper stock and a glossy cover. Perhaps even more importantly, there will be an enhanced website at www.oregonbeergrowler.com.