DIY Invitational Fest at the New Growler’s Taproom

The recently remodeled and rebranded Growler’s Taproom (formerly Growlers Hawthorne), under new ownership and with Jim Parker behind the bar, has announced the DIY Invitational. The inner southeast’s pub recently opened a beer garden in the former parking lot and completed a conversion from growler station to more of a beer lounge. The DIY Invitational will honor Oregon’s self-distributed breweries, cideries, kombucha, and soda makers in a two-day celebration on September 9 – 10th at 3343 S.E. Hawthorne.

More from the press release:

All 30 of the pub’s beer taps, five cider/mead taps and kombucha and soda taps will be filled by companies who make, sell and deliver their own goods without the help of a wholesale distribution partner.

The event is the brainchild of Growler’s bartender Jim Parker, who has worked for several self-distributed breweries and last year organized a series of Selfie-Fest Roadshow tap takeover events. The idea, he says, is threefold: To show appreciation to the number of fiercely independent self-distributed breweries in the state; to educate beer drinkers on the distribution system and, lastly, “It’s a great excuse for brewers to get together and party.”

“Most people don’t realize, when they look at a tap list, that some of the brewers up there had to work harder and beat longer odds to get their beer on that board,” he says.

The majority of beers on the shelves and tap lists are sold and delivered by one of the state’s wholesale distributors. These are companies that brewers contract with to warehouse, deliver and sell their beers within a set territory. In return, wholesalers keep a percentage of the wholesale cost of each keg they sell – usually about 30 percent. Distributors have a wide range of brands and can offer bar owners the convenience of filling their taps while writing fewer checks and dealing with fewer deliveries.

Until 2001, breweries that offered on-site consumption of their beers were legally required to sell all wholesale beer through distributors. Through a series of laws, all brewers in Oregon are now allowed to self-distribute up to 7,500 barrels a year.

“Eventually, just about every brewery will sign with a distributor because warehousing and delivery of the beer becomes unwieldy. But, early on, it is often worth the extra work and expense to keep that 30 percent margin on your beer,” Parker says. “But it is hard for the lone sales person with maybe five to 10 beers to offer to compete with the distributor rep, who has a literal book of beers. So this is our way of tipping our hats to these folks.”

There are enough self-distributed breweries that Growler’s will be featuring a different brewery on each tap with locals such as Baerlic and Stormbreaker alongside farther-flung breweries such as Alesong Brewing and Blending, Freebridge and Wolf Tree.

A second festival, later in the month, will focus on the state’s brewers who don’t have their own facilities, but rather contract for brew time on other brewers’ systems. These brewers, like Rosenstadt, Awesome Ales and Pono “are kind of the nomads of the brewing world,” Parker says. It is often a stepping stone along the way to opening a brewery.

The DIY Invitational will run Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 9 and 10 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. There is no entry fee. Beers will be available in 4-, 12- and 16-ounce sizes. During the fest, brewers will also be competing in what Growler’s is calling the Intergalactic Cornhole Championships, cornhole tournament in the Growler’s beer garden.

Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

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: