This summer we will see the 20th anniversary of the (almost legal) Oregon Brewers Festival, an event that has played a substantial role in turning Portland into Beervana. Unfortunately, one group won't be there to celebrate: kids.
After 19 years of promoting the Oregon Brewers Festival as a community event, we regret that we will not be allowed to have minors under the age of 21 on the festival premises in 2007. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has stipulated no minors be on-site, citing OLCC Rule 845-006-0340 (7) (a) in which "eating predominates" and the premise must not have a "drinking enviroment". In order to view this rule, please go to here and click on "Laws and Rules". Click on OLCC Law Book. This will open up a PDF file for viewing.
Among the great travesties in Oregon public policy, this doesn't rate very high, but it's still a seriously bad call. When Oregon's microbreweries began to rise to prominence in the 1980s, drinking moved from the dark, windowless caves of the corner taverns into well-lit, homey brewpubs. Families started coming, and the focus turned from getting smashed to enjoying an artisinal product.
For kids, seeing their parents drink responsibly in a normal environment demystifies it and removes the allure of the forbidden. I don't doubt that there are parents in Oregon who think that taking their children to a beer festival exposes them to indecent behavior. But there are certainly others who think it's a healthy celebration of local culture--and fun, to boot. The OLCC has taken the choice away from parents, many of whom will now skip their Saturday afternoon trip to Waterfront Park.
I don't know if it will do any good, but Fest organizers encourage you to contact the OLCC and let them know how you feel:
If you disagree with the OLCC's decision, then please contact executive director StephenPharo and let him know: 503-872-5000,1800-452-6522,or firstname.lastname@example.org
Let kids come to the Fest!