Oregon Craft Beer Month in a nutshell: So far, so good. And so good, so far!
We’re nearing the midway point of Oregon Craft Beer Month, and, I have to say, it’s been a challenge — but one that I and countless others have been training for all year. I know I can speak for my fellow OCBM celebrators when I say that this year’s OCBM is bigger, badder and better than ever before, with a couple hundred events and something happening each and every day in our fair state.
What started in 2005 as Oregon Beer Week — it might have been the first proclaimed “beer week,” although Beerapolooza in the Bay Area (now SF Beer Week) was already happening — the concept was a creation of three people poised on barstools who were concerned that Oregon’s craft beer culture was being taken for granted.
Those three people — Don Younger, publican of the famed Horse Brass Pub; Jim McConnaughey, a former Horse Brass employee and close friend; and Yours Truly — concocted the plan over some inspiration (a goodly number of Oregon craft beers) in answer to our apprehension that, after more than 20 years of a rich craft beer culture and history, Oregonians were no longer celebrating great beer like we used to.
Oh, sure. Craft beer was everywhere in Oregon — from corner convenience stores to white-clothed fancy restaurants — and the breweries were flourishing and growing in number. But there was no longer that rush of first love, that buzz in the air, the excitement that happens when you are enjoying and pursuing your heart’s desire. We wanted to remind our fellow foamheads that we’ve got a great thing going here, and we shouldn’t forget it. Our “barstool movement” spawned the first Oregon Beer Week, and it was so full of events that it grew to nine days long. The very next year, we made it a month, and it’s been going strong ever since.
And, thanks to some outside eyes, I’ve taken another look at our statewide craft beer culture. I no longer am concerned that we Oregonians are taking it for granted. Instead, I think of it as a couple that’s been married for awhile: the passion is still there, the love is even deeper than ever, but it fits so comfortably that it’s just a part of our daily lives; it’s been woven into our social fabric here in Oregon. But, like that same couple, it’s still important to take some time to celebrate that passion. Couples celebrate anniversaries, and I like to think of Oregon Craft Beer Month as our anniversary.
We Oregonians will be celebrating all month long, and if you’re from out of state, we’d love it if you’d join us in raising a toast sometime during July to one of the richest and oldest craft beer cultures in America.
Or come visit us sometime. We’ll keep the taps open for you.
Leave a Reply