After nearly three months without an executive director, the Oregon Brewers Guild has announced that not just one but two people will now take on the position.
Tony Roberts, who is based in Portland, will oversee operations and marketing, while Christina LaRue, who will operate out of Bend, is in charge of membership, events and education.
"As the state's craft beer industry grows and evolves, it's critical that the Oregon Brewers Guild does the same," guild president and co-owner of Occidental Brewing Dan Engler said in a statement. "We're thrilled to have two leaders, with two complementary skill sets, who can advocate for and promote Oregon brewers across the state."
Brewers guilds have played an increasingly important role in states across the country, acting as both industry advocates to cheerleaders. The Oregon association is best known for holding events like Zwickelmania, where the public is invited behind the bar and into the brewhouse for special tours and tastings, and publicizing the brewing industry's economic impact.
In November, the guild announced that Brian Butenschoen, the previous executive director since 2005, was no longer with the nonprofit. The email did not specify whether Butenschoen left on his own or whether the board made the decision to sever ties, but the sudden departure suggested some discord.
LaRue has long been embedded in the state's craft beer scene, having worked at three different Bend breweries over the past 12 years, most recently as general manager of Crux Fermentation Project, and as the event coordinator for the Master Brewers Association of the Americas, Northwest District. In addition to that, she is a sensory-trained beer judge, evaluating submissions to esteemed competitions like the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.
The board also welcomed a new member. Sonia-Marie Leikam of Leikam Brewing, Portland's first kosher brewery, was elected along with incumbents president Dan Engler (Occidental), vice president Marcus Reed (Widmer Brothers Brewery), Ben Edmunds (Breakside Brewery) and Jamie Floyd (Ninkasi Brewing).