On April 2, two ordinary brothers from Portland, Ore. who set out in 1984 to brew beers that people loved as much as they did will be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of their dream – Widmer Brothers Brewing – which has become an established and revered name in the world of craft beer. The company’s humble founders, Kurt and Rob, have been instrumental in shaping the American craft brewing industry and earning Portland the well-deserved nickname “Beervana.” Here are just a few of the contributions they have made over the past quarter-century:
Widmer Hefeweizen: In 1986, Kurt and Rob took a risk and created the first unfiltered beer in the US, creating a new beer style – American Hefeweizen – and introducing what would become the company’s signature brew. Today, Widmer Hefeweizen remains one of the best selling wheat beers in the country and the standard by which all other American-style Hefeweizens are judged.
Seasonals: Widmer Brothers was the first US brewer to launch a seasonal offering when Festbier was introduced in the winter of 1985. Building upon its success, Widmer became the first US brewer to produce a year-round line up of seasonal beers, a practice which is now commonplace.
Oregon Brew Fest: In 1988 the Oregon Brewer’s Guild, of which Kurt and Rob were founding members, launched the Oregon Brewer’s Festival. Today, the event is the largest outdoor craft beer festival in the country, drawing more than 70,000 attendees.
After 25 years, Kurt and Rob Widmer continue to be hands-on in the creation of beers and the brewery’s day-to-day activities. In addition, the brothers have been supporting home brewers through the Collaborator Project for more than a decade. Each year they identify the best Oregon-made homebrew, then allow the creator to produce it at the Widmer brewery and sell it on tap at a number of Portland-area bars, including the Gasthaus.
To celebrate its milestone, Widmer Brothers will be releasing a commemorative 25th Anniversary limited-edition brew, a double alt dubbed 84/09. Though inspired by the brothers’ very first offering, Widmer Alt, 8409 will provide drinkers with a whole new beer experience at a whopping 9.8% ABV. The 25th Anniversary 22 oz bottle will be available in 12 select West Coast markets* in May, with an SRP of $5.99.
*Look for Widmer’s 8409 on shelves in AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, OR, NM, NV, TX, WA and WY.