Deschutes Street Pub in Roanoke smashes records, donates money, and sets gold standard for downtown events

Shayne Dwyer/WDBJ7
Shayne Dwyer/WDBJ7(WDBJ)
Published: Aug. 31, 2016 at 8:55 AM EDT
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They came in masses, and boy were they thirsty. Deschutes said it's now official, last weekend's Street Pub shattered records and exceeded expectations across the board.

But Roanokers should take away more from the event than just the beer. for one, nine local non-profits received a large chunk of change from the event. For two, the Street Pub is now the shining example of what downtown events can be.

People have still not stopped talking about the Street Pub although the taps ran dry days ago. A record smashing 241 kegs - about 50 more than the previous record - and a larger than expected crowd of 22,000 people made it so.

Wednesday nine local valley non-profits received their cut of the $81,000 donation share.

The primary nonprofit organizations include Roanoke Outside Foundation, Blue Ridge Land Conservancy, and Feeding America Southwest Virginia. The other organizations benefitted include Pathfinders for Greenways, Roanoke IMBA, Clean Valley Council, Leap for Local Food, Family Promise of Greater Roanoke, and Bradley Free Clinic of Roanoke Valley.

"We should be getting just shy of $7,000 which is huge for us," Clean Valley Council Executive Director Cristina Siegel said. "Never have I received a $7,000 check. I'm going to photocopy that and pin that on my bulletin board to remember this day."

Deschutes did fall short of the $100,000 donation goal, but no one is complaining. The Street Pub gave Roanoke a jolt that really is priceless.

"I even saw one person say that this is the biggest party that Roanoke has ever had, and it has become historic," #Deschutes2Rke Campaign Organizer Michael Galliher said. "And now Deschutes has kind of set the bar for anyone else that does an event here."

Deschutes left a tall order for anyone looking to do another big event. Through the partnership of local businesses, city leaders, and most important the attendees, it showed the world that Roanoke is for real.

"This was that icon moment, so I think everyone wanted to come here and be a part of that, is this a historical moment for our community," Roanoke Outside Foundation Director Pete Eshelman said. "is this the shifting transition point to where all of a sudden things are going to take off and accelerate?"

Keeping the momentum flowing will be the challenge for downtown stakeholders. And even though they don't know for sure just how much further it will go, there are big hopes.

"There's a really great synergy happening downtown as we see more events coming, more businesses coming, more people moving down here," Downtown Roanoke Inc. Marketing and Communications Specialist Jaime Clark said. "It's all really super positive and I think we got to show off downtown Roanoke and everything it's becoming."

"I think the question is and I don't think anyone really knows the answer yet, is how is that going to translate, what is that going to translate into?" Eshelman said. "And you know I feel that it's really going to make us this vibrant community where people want to live and locate to."

In addition to the local downtown businesses the Deschutes Street Pub also helped another business. Blue Ridge Beverage is the Deschutes supplier for Southwest Virginia and got the sale of all the kegs.

But more importantly, Deschutes hype leads to Deschutes purchases which helps them even more in the long run. It said it has more than 300 tap handles of Deschutes in the area, and the brand is incredibly popular.

"It's well beyond what we expected to be in the first 90 days on draft handles," Blue Ridge Beverage Salem Division General Manager Michael Mahoney said. "In sheer volume in one month, it's been pretty substantial."