The Brew Site

Press Release: Portland Reaffirms Position as Craft Beer Capitol of the United States

Two Oregon Breweries Win Grand Champion Brewery Awards at the 2008 World Beer Cup

Five Portland breweries claimed a total of nine medals at the 2008 World Beer Cup held Saturday, April 19th in San Diego, California giving Portland the distinction of being the most medaled city in the world’s most prestigious international brewing competition.

BridgePort Brewing Co., Hopworks Urban Brewery, Pyramid Breweries and Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. led the way with two medals each. Laurelwood Brewing Co. claimed one medal from the elite panel of international judges who awarded 268 medals from among the 2,864 different beers from 644 breweries across 91 beer styles.

Highlights from the 2008 World Beer Cup included two Oregon brewmasters winning the prestigious Grand Champion Brewery award. Grand Champion Brewery awards are awarded in five different brewery size categories.

Tonya Cornett of Bend Brewing Company in Bend became the first woman ever to win Champion Brewmaster honors. She collected two gold medals to earn the title of Champion Brewery in the Small Brewpub category.

Darron R.S. Welch of Pelican Pub and Brewery in Pacific City was the World Beer Cup Champion Brewery and Brewmaster in the Large Brewpub category. No craft brewmaster in the U.S. has won more Champion Brewmaster awards between the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival.

“This is just one more example of why Oregon overall, and Portland in particular, is the craft brewing capitol of the U.S. and a craft beer lovers Beervana. In Oregon you can head to the coast where breweries won six medals, or you can head to the high desert to Bend, where breweries there won three gold medals. No matter where you travel in Oregon you can find world-class beer made locally,” said Oregon Brewers Guild Executive Director Brian Butenschoen, noting that Oregon breweries claimed a total of 18 medals in the competition.

Bend Brewing Co. won two gold medals, one in the American-Style Dark Lager category and one in the Strong Ale Category to win the Champion Brewery in the Small Brewpub Category. “I’ve been working so hard, for so long to systematically make my beers better, that to win two Gold medals is confirmation that I have been on the right path all along.” said Tonya Cornett, of her Champion Brewery honors.

Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. won gold in the American-Style Pale Ale category with Widmer Pale Ale and gold in the American-Style Hefeweizen category for Widmer Hefeweizen – the beer that helped launch that style to prominence. “We’ve been at it out here longer than anywhere else,” said Kurt Widmer of Widmer Brothers. “You are only as good as your competition and in Oregon the competition is excellent.”

For full 2008 World Beer Cup awards info, go to