“I wake up kind of angry every day, but we gotta get over that and look forward to a brighter future,” says Dan Hart, co-owner of Prost, Mississippi Marketplace, Stammtisch, Bantam Tavern and Interurban.
Oregon Brewers Guild’s annual meeting and Oregon Craft Beer Month are moving to February.
July has been Oregon Craft Beer Month since 2005, an official designation declared by Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski was made in 2007. But now under new leadership, the Oregon Brewers Guild is moving Oregon Craft Beer Month in it’s 15th year to February 2020.
OCBM was built around the tourist season and marquee events like the Oregon Brewers Festival, one of the longest running beer festivals in the country, held in downtown Portland since 1988. (The guild will still run the pre-OBF Brewers Dinner.) For many years, then Oregon Brewers Guild executive director Brian Butenschoen, would purchase advertising and a pull-out guide in The Oregonian advertising July OCBM events. That has fallen off in recent years with July OCBM passing by with nothing but a whimper. But that will all change in February 2020 under the new OBG co-directors Tony Roberts and Christina LaRue.
“Summer is a busy time for Oregon breweries. If we wanted to ask Guild members to take part in new events and activities, it made sense to slot the month into a different timeframe,” says Oregon Brewers Guild Co-Executive Director Tony Roberts. “February allows us a better opportunity to focus on Oregon beer, and give it the celebration and attention it deserves. Plus, there are already some lively beer events in locations around the state throughout the month.”
February is a natural fit for OCBM, sure it’s not all sunny weather and touristy season, but that is kind of the point. Oregon’s guild run free brewery tour open-house event Zwickelmania has been a huge hit, and takes place Valentine’s day weekend every year in February. Fort George Brewery’s uber-popular Festival of the Dark Arts is held on the same day during the so-called “darkest month” of the year. In Eugene, we have the KLCC Brewfest, a great chance for the guild’s outreach outside of Portland.
The Oregon Beer Awards have also become a huge draw for the states brewers. Held every year in mid to late February, the Oregon Beer Awards are announced at a ceremony at Revolution Hall in southeast Portland that draws brewers from all over the state. It makes sense then, to move the OBG’s annual member meeting from November to Monday, February 17th, the day before the Oregon Beer Awards ceremony and at new location Mcmenamins Crystal Ballroom. The change in date will make it much more enticing for brewers coming in from out of Portland to make both the guild member meeting and the OBA’s.
A resurgent Oregon Craft Beer Month in February also means more new events. The OBG promises plenty of new releases, tastings, beer pairings and tappings but also a sleight of guild created new events that have yet to-be-announced.
Roberts and his co-director Christina LaRue took the reigns of the guild at the beginning of 2019 under a new board of directors lead by Dan Engler of Occidental Brewing. It was immediately obvious that the guild was embarking on a new era, when Engler announced the new directors at the annual OBG meeting last December. The new OBG has already began updating and putting their stamp on events by axing the unprofitable Cheers to Belgian Beers festival and launching an official Zwickelmania collaboration beer in bottles. New events, initiatives, outreach and restructuring are imminent as the guild modernizes itself for the growth and challenges of Oregon’s brewers.
About the Oregon Brewers Guild
The Oregon Brewers Guild is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and protect the state’s craft brewing industry and the common interests of its members. Founded in 1992, the Oregon Brewers Guild is one of the nation’s oldest craft brewers associations.
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.