Oregon Distillers Guild President Ted Pappas says you do not want to wait to get your tickets for the March 7th TOAST in Portland, Oregon. The guild has hired an event organizer to promote and organize this year’s event, and expects the 1,000 limited tickets to sell fast.
“Don’t wait around for a Groupon,” says Pappas, “It’s not going to happen. This is a first class event and tickets are reasonably priced at $45. We will sell out, period.”
TOAST, The Original Artisan Spirit Tasting, was the first guild-sponsored tasting event in the nation, and is consistently one of the best-attended events of its kind. In 2010, Ryan Csanky of Aria Portland Dry Gin started TOAST with several goals in mind.
“The idea was to build awareness that craft distilling is a movement that is rising like boutique winemaking and craft brewing have already,” he tells. “I really wanted to make the public aware of how many amazing craft distilleries there are in Oregon, and even craft distilleries outside of Oregon.”
A secondary goal, Csanky explains, was to generate revenue for the guild. As a non-profit, they needed an additional source of income beyond membership dues, and TOAST became their primary fundraiser. Through ticket sales and on-site purchases, money generated from the event allows the guild to be legislatively active, promote Oregon distillers both locally and nationally through the Oregon Distillery Trail, and attract tourists to the state.
President Pappas says the event has greatly benefitted the guild, as well as distillers in Oregon and abroad. Now, in year five, Pappas, Csanky and other board members elected to hire the event organizer in an effort to improve the event experience.
“In 2014 we saw a lot of repetition occurring with tasting events, and I thought we needed to be a little different,” says Pappas. “We go to DStill in Colorado, PROOF up in Washington – we’ve been to a lot of events where they’re starting to move away from a tradeshow environment to just a good time. That’s really what we’re doing.”
Several restaurants will offer diverse meal options from appetizers to dinners. A VIP lounge upstairs and separate bar downstairs will provide cocktails prepared with spirits from the 40 attending distilleries. The show runs from 4 to 10, with an after party with the distillers from 10-11.
“We really want people to come and stay,” says Pappas. “We’ve arranged the timing so that if you just want to come and taste the spirits then take off, we’ve got that for you. If you want to come have fun, DJs playing, a little more lively atmosphere, that’s going to start up around 6 or 7.”
Tickets are $45 and include a commemorative tasting glass and an Oregon Distillery Trail Scout book. Sixty dollar VIP tickets add two cocktails, access to the after party with the distillers, and exclusive access to the VIP lounge. Distillers will offer samples of their spirits and if you fall in love you can buy a bottle at their table or at the on-site spirits store.
Cab service, Portland’s famous (in a good way) public transit, and other transportation options are available to get you home. A $15 designated driver ticket gets your driver into the party for some mock-tails and fantastic food.
To get your tickets before they sell out, visit www.oregondistillerytrail.com.