OLCC bans families from Oregon Brewers Festival

This year is the 20th annual Oregon Brewers Festival, a milestone year to be sure. As a special treat, the OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission) has decided to ban minors from the Festival entirely.

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".

As Jeff on BlueOregon writes:

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.

Personally, I wouldn’t bring my kids to the OBF, but not because I think the environment is inappropriate or unhealthy for them: rather, it would just make a long, boring, tiring day for them. The OBF itself is a very family-friendly venue—I’ve never witnessed anything in the times that I’ve been there to convince me otherwise.

Regardless, OLCC has decided to overrule the matter entirely, and families who would otherwise have been able to check out the Brewfest for a couple hours won’t be able to go.

(An alternative, but more mean-spirited, headline I considered for this post: "OLCC says, Happy 20th OBF!")


  1. I see no problem taking the kids to there; however, I was pregnant with K. the first time we went.

    They do give out root beer (or did many, many years ago).

    Poor move on the OLCC’s part. Consider what happened when Bend made the drinking areas smaller for their festivals…we didn’t go for YEARS. By then, they relaxed a bit and made the 2 streets "walkable". Those with kids won’t be able to go and there’s loss revenue there.

  2. This is disconcerting, this is in my opinion the wrong direction to go. I don’t have kids myself but in years past I have gone to the OBF with families who take their kids.

    I’ve already sent a letter and contacted the Brewers Association, who are going to ping the Oregon Brewers Guild to determine the next action. I encourage you to send at least an email, in large quantities this might get noticed…


    Here’s the letter I sent:

    to: steve.pharo@state.or.us

    Mr. Pharo,

    After seeing the news posted on the Oregon Brewers Festival about
    children not being allowed to attend this year I had to let you know
    how I and many of my friends feel on this issue. We are very
    dissapointed to learn about the recent OLCC law regarding allowing
    children into an event primarily for the consumption about beer and
    feel this is a step in the wrong direction.

    A group of beer-loving friends and I have a tradition of visiting the
    OBF together to experience a variety of beers together. This will be
    the first year that we cannot all go together because some of our
    friends now have families. Last year the stickers that the parents and
    children were required to wear were ridiculous, but this year it has
    certainly gone too far.

    I and our friends with families drink responsibly and clearly teach
    their children that "beer is for grown-ups". I feel it is clearly a
    parental role to make this decision and the OLCC is stepping out of
    it’s realm of reasonable influence with this new law. Growing up in a
    family with a healthy attitude and respect for alcohol where children
    can participate in all events has been associated with fewer problems
    with excess consumption problems in many cultures, this is the
    direction we should be heading.

    We see this as a step in the wrong direction for Oregon and the OLCC
    who are now making parenting decisions where it should not.

    We all drink responsibly and frequent our local brewpubs with families
    in tow, but this year things may be different. My friends and I urge
    you to reconsider this law.


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