Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Widmer Brothers Oral History Interview, May 10, 2014

Oregon State University
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00:00:00 - Description of interview

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Segment Synopsis: The brothers order some drinks and are explained the process and the content of the upcoming interview. The brothers share some jokes, and prepare themselves for the interview, as well as learn about the archivist process.

Keywords: Archvism; History; Interview

00:08:03 - Portland Brewing Community; Widmer early years;

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Partial Transcript: So in addition to talking about food smells, if you guys could talk about what its like to be apart of the Portland history when you were starting out in the early 80's, what was it like to be apart of the community?

Segment Synopsis: The two brothers share about how there was essentially was no community in the brewing industry in Portland, Oregon during the early 80's as they were pioneers in the area. They didn't start brewing with the intent of commercially brewing, but they grew into it over time. They mention how supportive members of the Oregon Brew Crew were to their business, always drinking their beer and demonstrating enthusiasm about the work they were doing.
In their early years they were able to tour a few facilities where they learned what tactics were successful and what needed to be improved upon in their own operation. They expand on what the climate of brewing was like in Portland, highlighting their belief that there is no better place in the world to brew beer due to the popularity of beer in the region.

00:18:55 - Managing a Brewery; Hiring Practices; Collaborations

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Partial Transcript: How do you think about growth? Can you talk about that growth when you realized you're going to make it?

Segment Synopsis: The brothers shares about the constant pressure and stress in starting and operating their own brewery, mentioning that there has never been a point when they felt as if they "made it". They note that they are now in a position where they are not as fragile as they have been in the past, but their work still requires their best effort and innovation to stay afloat.
They share about their hiring practices, specifically that they focus on good working habits over previous brewing experience. They prefer to train individuals who do not already posses poor habits, and would rather train them on the brewing industry themselves.

00:27:01 - Blitz-Weinhard; Legacy Regional Breweries;

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Partial Transcript: What was your view of them? (Blitz-Weinhard)

Segment Synopsis: They shared their opinion about Blitz-Weinhard Beer, specifically how helpful they were to them in the early days of building their business. The focus shifts towards legacy regional breweries located in Rainier, Tacoma, Olympia and Eugene.
They continue on to reflect on how specific beers they have brewed have changed, and others that have remained the same over the course of 25 years. They have held onto all the recipes they have ever developed, however the biggest challenge they face in recreating old beer is finding the specific hops that are used.

00:37:32 - Naming the brewery; Portland, Oregon

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Partial Transcript: I'd like to say it was all apart of a brilliant plan, but its the serendipity that it has our name on it.

Segment Synopsis: They elaborate on the impact their name has in association with the beer and the weight it carries when they hand individuals their card and their last name is the same as the brewery. There is no Joe Sierra Nevada or Joe Anchor that are involved with those breweries, and it provides them with credibility when introducing their products.
Portland was selected as one of the top 8 beer cities in the world, and the number 1 in Western Hemisphere, which they give a large amount of credit to the local community.

00:45:11 - Widmer Meeting; Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: No dialogue

Segment Synopsis: The interview concludes with a brief glimpse into a Widmer staff meeting in the conference room. The meeting consisted of tasting and smelling beers, in which they recorded notes on.