Oregon Brew Fest 2023 canceled, return date uncertain

Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 1:07 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - The Oregon Brewers Festival team has canceled the July 2023 event, they announced on Friday.

“We’re disappointed to share this news, but we know that it’s the right thing to do,” OBF said their statement. “After three decades of producing OBF, we’ve developed a solid understanding of what it takes to give our attendees a great festival. And it’s clear when those factors aren’t coming together for a successful event.”

OBF said rising costs, dropping attendance numbers and extreme weather all contributed to the decision. Additionally, many breweries and suppliers are still struggling to recover from the pandemic, and so will not be able to participate, they said.

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For these reasons, OBF does not have an estimated return date at this time.

“As we go forward, we’ll be considering creative ways to support our local breweries and cideries through smaller festivals and partnerships,” OBF said. “And we encourage you to do the same, by visiting your favorite watering hole, ordering takeout or delivery, leaving reviews for your favorites, buying gift cards, and following them on social media for the latest news on how to help. Let’s make sure there are plenty of thriving breweries ready to join us at OBF when we return.”

“When people are coming to Portland, they’re coming to beer mecca,” says Michael Kora, owner of Montavilla Brew Works.

Kora first moved to the Rose City to start brewing.

“We’re making beer in one of the best beer cities in the US and maybe the world,” Kora says.

When the news came Friday the festival was canceled this year, beer lovers and brewers alike were disappointed.

“It’s heartbreaking too just because a lot of people, especially organizers and volunteers, have put a lot of their time into making that a thing for decades for people to enjoy not only here in Portland but all over the world,” Kora says.

Owner of Coin Toss Brewing Tim Hohl agrees. His beer has been poured at the festival every year since 2016 and says he was looking forward to participating again this year after a few years off because of the pandemic.

“You just think, ‘oh man, 2023 come on it’s the new year, give us some good news,’ so it sucks,” Hohl says. “We were always very proud to be a part of the event. I hope it comes back in some way shape or form but who knows in this day and age? Everything is so unpredictable.”

Not only does the festival expose fans to local beer, but it also brings in customers from all over they wouldn’t normally meet.

“We’ve had people from Japan, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Scotland, England, Australia, New Zealand,” Kora says. “I remember shaking those people’s hands and they were like, ‘we wanted to come to a small space,’ and to us that was a huge deal.”

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OBF also thanked partners, staff, volunteers, vendors and Portland Parks & Recreation who have participated in the festival over 33 years.

“From the ones who never missed a year to those who braved the heatwave in 2022 to join us for the first time—we can’t wait to see you again,” they said.