The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Jeff Edgerton Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Tiah Edmunson-Morton.

November 18, 2015


“Macro to Micro: A Perspective on Brewing in Portland”  November 18, 2015  Location: BridgePort Brewing, Portland, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Edgerton discusses his upbringing in Canby, Oregon, his early interest in science, the two years that he spent at Clackamas Community College, and his decision to transfer to Oregon State University. In reflecting on his OSU experience, Edgerton notes his progression as a Microbiology major, comments on his growing interest in food science, and shares his memories of campus and community life in the mid-1980s. From there, Edgerton recounts his first jobs following college, including work at Prepared Media Laboratories, and a position helping to structure a research laboratory at Reser's Fine Foods.

The remainder of the session is devoted to Edgerton's work in the brewing industry and his recollections of shifts in Portland's brewing culture. He begins by detailing the process by which he came to be employed as a laboratory technician at Blitz-Weinhard. In this, he also outlines the crumbling financial fortunes at Blitz, the many products that the brewery created and marketed, the work culture at the company, and his own mounting interest in becoming a brewer.

Edgerton then describes his shift from Blitz to BridgePort, outlining the specifics of his job as a quality assurance manager, and contrasting the environment at a small craft brewery with his previous experience at a very large brewing operation. He likewise shares his thoughts on the major growth experienced by BridgePort in the 1990s; the emphasis that he placed on insuring that BridgePort brewed a consistent product; and the changes that he observed as the Pearl District neighborhood developed around the brewery.

As it nears its conclusion, the interview shifts focus to Edgerton's activities as a brewmaster, and the strengthening of ties between BridgePort and the Fermentation Science program at OSU. The session ends with Edgerton's thoughts on points of pride looking back.