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North American Organic Brewers Expands Festival

Submitted by on May 17, 2010 – 10:00 AMNo Comment
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In an effort to keep the organic breweries on the forefront, the North American Organic Brewers will be celebrating their sixth annual festival from June 25-27 in Overlook Park in Portland, Oregon.

With an expected 20,000-22,000 people to attend, Craig Nicholls, the founder of the event, said there will be no more sponsorships. “This year we are letting the North American Organic Brewers Festival stand on its own two legs,” said Nicholls.

Nicholls’ main focus this year is to focus on expanding the horizons on sustainability and participation. “We have the opportunity to change things,” said Nicholls. “By teaching the kids and families to think green and be energy efficient, we might have a chance to change the world.”

Nicholls is proud to announce that this festival generates the “least amount of trash than any other festival in the state of Oregon.” Everything they use will be sent straight to the compost. The festival will also launch more solar panels than ever before, making it the “largest festival producing the most energy.”

This festival has come a long way since the first one six years ago. Nicholls first brewed his first organic beer back in 1996. With the positive feedback from the general public, he thought that this idea was something that could really be expanded on.

In 2002, Nicholls “loosely” talked to organic brewers about what they can do on their part to help maintain some sort of sustainability. “I really wanted to say ‘What else can we do to keep Portland brewing on the edge?’” Nicholls recalled.

From there on, Nicholls kept in the back of his mind, the idea to one day get a little festival started where he can showcase organic beers. “In 2003 we did it,” said Nicholls. “We had a really great turnout and lots of positive feedback.”

Going on their sixth year in a row, Nicholls says that he is “not concerned with profit.” Admission to this event is free, but the purchase of a corn starch mug is required for tasting. “My intentions are to spread information,” he says, “I want the next generation to grow up in a better place.”

This year, the kid section has also expanded. More projects for the kids will be made, which is used from all recyclable materials to produce pencil holders, magnets and frames. This year’s lineup includes big guys as well as little guys, ranging from Fish Brewing Company to Lompoc Brewing Company.

Seminars will also be taking place at this year’s event, yet they are not open to the general public. “The seminars are really a discussion of how we can better the organic movement,” said Nicholls. This year the main topic for the seminar will be Hops. While he said it is a “very touchy subject,” some Hops growers are trying to pass a law that says that Hops should be grown 100 % organic. “By limiting the amount of Hops we can use, pretty soon the beers are going to start tasting and smelling the same,” Nicholls said.

With a couple of years under their belt and some learning experiences, Nicholls said he thinks this is going to be “by far the best festival yet.”