Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Carole Ockert Oral History Interview, March 1, 2014

Oregon State University
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00:00:00 - Belfast; Early Life; Seattle; Europe

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Partial Transcript: Okay, go ahead...

Segment Synopsis: Carole was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. As a child, she was very school oriented, spending much of her time reading books and doing various other academic activities. Her family then moved to Seattle, Washington, and gave her the opportunity to immerse herself in a very different culture.
She lived in the Seattle area through high school and into college where she attended the University of Washington, and then left in her early 20's.
Carole shares how she met Karl, who was also living in the U district at the time, and how they eventually took a 3 month trip backpacking through Europe.

00:10:30 - UC Davis; Fermentation Science; Primates

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Partial Transcript: Well if you really like doing that, do that!

Segment Synopsis: Carole elaborates on Karl's desire pursue a career in brewing beer, and that decision ultimately led them down to UC Davis where he completed a degree in fermentation science. During this period in Davis, Carole worked for the primate resources center on campus. She was responsible for communicating with vets, researchers, and primate handlers in order to put in work orders.
The couple moved in with Karl's parents in Lake Oswego while looking for new employment. Carole was hired at a local attorney's office in Lake Oswego, and Karl was hired in a wine tasting room in the Portland area. During this time Karl was working with Dick Ponzi, and they were working up future plans for the creation of BridgePort.

00:26:05 - Brewery; Culture;

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Partial Transcript: So community wise, what was the brewery culture like?

Segment Synopsis: Carole expands on what it was like in the very early stages of planning to build a brewery. At the time it was very unknown for the group as to what it would entail and how it would be received. Carole sifts through some of the difficult questions they faced, what would a viable brewery look like? Where is the best location? Would it have a restaurant?
She explains the unwavering confidence she and her husband had in the future success of the brewery, it was never a matter of if, only when.
As the brewery began to take off, Carole elaborates on the extensive amount of people who were attracted to the BridgePort, and consequently began to offer their services in order to grow their business and be apart of this new cool thing.

She moves forward to share her experiences with individuals who she worked with and the impact it had on their lives.

00:38:10 - Labor; Young Community; Brewery Atmosphere

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Partial Transcript: Did you feel apart of the culture?

Segment Synopsis: Carole continues to expand on the resources within their community that they relied on when building BridgePort. She mentions how as they brought on men with particular skillsets, their wives and girlfriends would get involved, and it quickly grew into a young community hotspot. Carole shares how much she and Karl enjoyed the energy the younger people brought to BridgePort, and how it helped mold the Brewery.
She goes on to share how her perspective of what a brewery could changed over time. Having grown up in Northern Ireland, she related to the pub atmosphere in that area, but the creation of BridgePort allowed her to see it as a much healthier, family connecting atmosphere.

00:50:01 - Small Brewery; Children; Family Inclusion

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Partial Transcript: He got invited into the association

Segment Synopsis: Carole shares how BridgePort was received as a small scare brewery by other large breweries in the state. At the time, small breweries were abnormal.
She also shares about the birth of their children, and what it was like to have them grow up around the brewery. She really relished the fact that they had created a family culture, somewhere that they could bring their children to work with them. A big part of their identity was creating a place where entire families could be included, and in doing so they would have employees serve as babysitter's so family could bring their children in and still enjoy the full experience.

01:06:01 - Microbrew Culture; Children's youth; Development of BridgePort

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Partial Transcript: What was it like for them to grow up in the microbrew culture?

Segment Synopsis: Carole further elaborates on her kids childhood's, and how often they used to attend the local library near their house. She was very intentional in her decision to have her kids be heavily involved in books and literature. She was very adamant about her children witnessing how they interacted and networked with community members to grow their business, passing down social skills to benefit them later in life.
She mentions how both her and Karls roles have changed within BridgePort as the years have passed. Karl is no longer directly involved with the brewing, and she is not as connected with the people involved as she once was.

01:14:07 - Brewing Culture in Oregon; Beer Taste; Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: The impact of the brewing movement on the culture of Oregon

Segment Synopsis: Carole shares how pleased she has been that brewing has become a part of Oregon's persona in a positive and proud way. It is a significant thing to witness after all the years of effort put in after starting with a vision, and being able to watch it come to fruition not only for BridgePort but throughout the state as a whole. She describes it as refreshing for the population of Oregon to rally around an idea that didn't exist all too long ago, and to be apart of something like that is really special to Carole.
Carole concludes by describing herself as having a good taste and smell for beer, allowing her to give reviews for Karl.