Oregon Beer Veteran Art Larrance Has Sold Cascade Brewing Ahead of His Retirement

He will continue to operate the Oregon Brewers Festival, which is still slated to take place this summer.

Cascade Brewing (Bridget Baker)

One of the pillars of Oregon's beer industry is bowing out.

Art Larrance, who helped pave the way for Oregon's vibrant brewpub culture, has sold Cascade Brewing and is transitioning into retirement.

The team that owns and operates FlyBoy Brewery in Tigard and Lake Oswego will take over the Barrel House on Southeast Belmont Street as well as the Lodge on Southwest Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and Blending House on Southwest 111th Avenue.

"It's time for me to retire and pass the brewery on to a team that's fresh and full of energy and ideas," Larrance said in a press release. "I trust this group will do Cascade Brewing proud."

Before launching Cascade Brewing in 1998, Larrance co-founded Portland Brewing with Fred Bowman in the mid-1980s. The two were part of a small yet determined group of brewers—which included the Widmer and McMenamin brothers as well as Dick and Nancy Ponzi of the now-shuttered BridgePort Brewing—to lobby the Oregon Legislature to legalize the onsite sale of beer at production facilities, which was prohibited until 1985.

You can also credit Larrance with helping create the largest beer festival in the state.

The Oregon Brewers Festival was born after he attended Oktoberfest in Munich. His re-creation of a tiny slice of drunken Bavaria included only a handful of producers in the beginning—when the event started in 1988, there were only six breweries in Oregon. But it grew into one of the nation's longest-running beer festivals, drawing hundreds of participating businesses and tens of thousands of visitors every year.

Cascade Brewing has also received national recognition. The brewery helped kick off the U.S. demand for funky and fruit ales that take years to age. The company also produced a kriek The New York Times called the best of its kind in the country.

The new owners include Mark Becker, who started homebrewing in high school and launched FlyBoy Brewery with his wife in 2014 and opened the Tigard pub three years later.

"Art is a legend, and we deeply respect what he and his team have built at Cascade," says co-owner Ramie Mount. "Our mission is to expand upon their vision, and we are incredibly excited for the opportunity to continue the legacy that Cascade started with its sour beer program."

Larrance isn't leaving the beer community completely. He will stay on at Cascade as an adviser during a phased-in changeover, and he remains the owner and operator of the Oregon Brewers Festival, which is currently still slated to happen July 22-25.

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