Oregon Brewers Guild recently announced that Christina LaRue will take the role as sole executive director of the organization. Co-Executive Director Tony Roberts leaves at the end of the month to take a position at a Portland-based law firm. Roberts position will not be replaced.
The transition underscores the difficult position for the Oregon Brewers Guild and other member organizations that are not eligible for the Payroll Protection Plan, and which often rely on events for income.
“This wasn’t part of the plan, but the pandemic has caused disruption for all of our businesses, and the Guild is no different,” said Board President and Occidental Brewing Founder Dan Engler. “This highlights the unique needs of state guilds, and we hope the Senate will pass assistance for member organizations, help that was already approved by the U.S. House over two months ago.”
Roberts joined the Guild in February 2019, and focused on government affairs, marketing and operations.
“This was a gut-wrenching decision — it’s been a true joy to advocate for an iconic industry with so many incredible people. Under normal circumstances, I would never leave this job. Unfortunately, a global pandemic changes your decision-making process,” Roberts said. “That said, the Guild is in great hands with the board and Christina. She’s been in the Oregon beer industry for nearly 15 years. The majority of our breweries haven’t been around that long! Her experience and connections are invaluable to the Guild, and we will continue to work together to ensure a smooth transition.”
LaRue joined the Guild as co-executive director in January 2019, and has previously worked at Crux Fermentation Project, Deschutes Brewery and Worthy Brewing Co. She is based in Bend.
“It truly pains me to see Tony go, and I know that it was not an easy decision for him to make. Through his steadfastness and dedication over the past year and a half, we have been able to accomplish significant work toward our mission of protecting Oregon craft beer. He is passionate about our industry, which is why I know that he will continue to be an advocate for it,” LaRue said. “I wish only the best for Tony in his new journey — we may no longer be co-workers, but I feel that I have made a friend for life. I know that the road ahead will have its challenges, but if 2020 has taught me anything, it is to be resilient and that change is the only constant.”
The Oregon Brewers Guild was founded in 1992. Its mission is to protect and promote craft breweries in Oregon.