Pub Talk

A Brief History of Beer in Portland, Oregon

#DrinkLocal is a global movement in efforts to support local craft breweries and brewers. Dive into the world of Portland craft beer by looking at the history of Portland’s first brewery.

A Brief History of Beer in Portland, Oregon

History of Craft Beer in Portland, Oregon
Portland’s First Craft Brewery

The first brewery to ever open in Portland was the Liberty Brewery in 1852, founded by Henry Saxer. 10 years later, the Portland brewery was purchased and expanded by Henry Weinhard, who later changed the brewery name to “City Brewery.” In 1914, Oregon passed a statewide ban on the manufacture, sale or advertisement of alcohol and liquor, followed by the nation-wide Prohibition which caused the closure of many breweries in Portland and all over Oregon.

In 1984, brewpubs were legalized and thus the birth of Portland’s first craft brewery, BridgePort Brewing. The brewery was founded by winemakers turned craft brewers, Dick and Nancy Ponzi. BridgePort was famous for their Blue Heron flagship beer and later their Original IPA which they launched in 1996. In that same year, the Ponzis sold the brewery to Gambrinus, a Texan Corona importer.

By 2009, BridgePort was the third highest-selling brewery in Oregon; selling approximately 27,500 barrels in 2011. Unfortunately, sales decreased as the years went on with the Oregon brewery selling only 5,000 barrels of beer in 2018. Bridgeport Brewery closed its doors for good in early 2019. Bridgeport is still remembered as Portland’s oldest craft brewery.

Why Should You Drink Portland Beers?

Buying locally-made beers from Portland breweries helps support local businesses and fosters growth in Oregon’s beer industry which can lead to economic development. Drinking craft beers from Portland’s craft breweries is important because the beer industry in United States is huge.

What is #DrinkLocal?

#DrinkLocal is more than just a beer hashtag, it’s a craft beer movement.

Drink Local or “#drinklocal” is an important grass-roots social movement. The #DrinkLocal tag creates awareness and support for local breweries, pubs, taprooms and liquor stores. Click here to learn more about the #drinklocal movement or tap into the world of Oregon Craft Beer by checking out our Portland Beer Guide.

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