What would have been the festival’s 33rd year is no more. The 2020 Oregon Brewers Festival has been officially cancelled. This year’s festival would have taken place at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland, Oregon from July 22 – 25, 2020.
The Oregon Brewers Festival was founded in 1988 by Art Larrance alongside a few other early brewing luminaries during the infancy of what was then known as microbrewing. This annual summer tradition has been one of the nation’s longest and most beloved beer festivals. Through the years this festival has always been rated as a top festival and unfortunately this year it will not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The cancellation of the Oregon Brewers Festival joins the already cancelled Portland Craft Beer Festival and Cider Summit Portland. We are confident that all other large scale festivals this summer and possibly beyond will also be canceled as social distancing measures of some sort will stay in effect for the foreseeable future. If a vaccine is not in place by the end of September, the Great American Beer Festival is also likely to be cancelled, though organizers are seeking a way to allow for the judging to take place.
Beyond just the festival being cancelled, this cancellation will be a huge blow to the local economy. As of the past few years, 50,000 attendees traveled from around to globe to attend the Oregon Brewers Festival. Each year the festival brings in over $20 million each year to the local economy.
Here’s the statement from Art Larrance…
Dear Friends of the Oregon Brewers Festival,
We are devastated to share that we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Oregon Brewers Festival, originally scheduled for this July 22-25. This will be the first time in 33 years that the iconic July event will not take place.
This decision was not made lightly. At the onset of the COVID-19 virus, we were hopeful that the situation might resolve itself by late July. But the health and safety of our guests, vendors, staff and volunteers is our top priority, and we have decided the risk of holding the festival is too great. The Oregon Brewers Festival is attended by thousands of visitors from all over the world. The last thing we would want to do is hold an event that could contribute to the spread of the virus and potentially introduce a second wave of infections.
It’s important for us to make sure that when the festival returns next year, it does so in a way that’s safe and ensures our guests feel secure. We will spend this downtime carefully planning on how to hold a successful event in a post-pandemic world.
The Oregon Brewers Festival will return July 28-31, 2021. In the meantime, we urge you to support your local craft breweries and cidermakers; place orders for curbside pickup or delivery and follow them on social media for the latest news on how to help. It has been estimated that up to 46% of craft breweries may be forced to close due to the pandemic. The Oregon Brewers Festival is a celebration of craft beer, and we need to make sure our breweries are still standing when this crisis has passed.
Until then, stay safe, be kind, and wash your hands. Cheers!
Founder Art Larrance and the entire Oregon Brewers Festival Team
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.