Now in its 11th year, the Philomath Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual downtown tasting tour is in the midst of a reboot. Although wineries will continue to have a major presence, organizers wanted to expand into other types of alcohol to attract those who might want to try a few different types of spirits or various styles of beer in their commemorative glass.
“The goal was to really give it a facelift and hopefully attract more people,” Philomath Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors President Alyssa Lewis said. “In years past, we had couples that were participating and maybe the wife was the only one that was really drinking wine because the husband didn’t care for it so much.
“So that’s why we were trying to incorporate more breweries and spirits to attract the other crowds that may be more apt to want to taste those over the wine,” she added. “We wanted to be able to have a happy medium for both.”
Now known as Sip & Stroll Philomath, the event will run from 3-7 p.m. Saturday in the downtown vicinity.
“We have been starting to get more diversity with those vendors that we’ve been seeing over the years,” Lewis said. “We had been getting more and more comments about having more breweries and more spirits.”
The event had previously been known as Philomath Uncorked with the general understanding that it was pretty much a wine walk. With a more aggressive presence of beer, ciders and spirits, the chamber needed a new name.
“So that’s where the name Sip & Stroll came from,” she said. “This year, we have 21 alcohol vendors ranging from wine, beer, ciders and spirits — so we have a really good variety there.”
Broken down, only nine of the 21 tasting stations will be wineries. The list includes eight distilleries, three breweries and a cider manufacturer.
Participating wineries included Bluebird Hill Cellars, Cardwell Hill Cellars, Catman Cellars, Chateau Bianca Winery, Compton Family Wines, Emerson Vineyards, Gelardi Vineyard, Lumos Winery and Pheasant Court Winery.
There are three breweries — Dirt Road Brewing, Long Timber Brewing and Snow Peak Brewing Co. — along with 2 Towns Cider.
The eight distilleries are 4 Spirits Distillery, 503 Distilling, Divine Distillers, Dregs Vodka, Marcotte Distilling Co, Spiritopia, Straightaway Cocktails and Vivacity Fine Spirits.
“It seems like it is shifting that there’s a lot of the canned cocktails and all of those distilleries offering a lot of different drinks and people are really into that right now … I think that’s why it’s so popular,” chamber Executive Director Lisa Watkins said in reference to the higher number of participating distilleries. “I’m glad we switched to make it not just wine because I think it’s going to make our event super successful.”
The chamber has a map available on its website for those who want to take a closer look at the options (Divine Distillers was a late addition and not included on the map; that vendor will be partnered with Compton Family Wines).
In the past with the event billed as a wine walk, those tasting purchased a traditional wine glass. But this year, stainless tumblers are an option.
“They’re the same size as our glasses that we purchased … we decided to do stemless tumblers to help fit with the distilleries and breweries, along with wineries,” Lewis said.
The cost to participate in the Sip & Stroll tasting is $20 (for those who want a wine glass) or $25 (for the stainless tumbler). The price of admission includes five tasting tokens and two raffle tickets. Organizers did say that a limited number of the tumblers were ordered and with their popularity so far, they will likely sell out fast.
Those planning to attend can now purchase tickets in advance at the chamber’s website — instead of waiting in lines.
“We’ve had a really good response from that,” Lewis said. “So far, we’ve already sold 54 glasses through the online presale, so that’s great.”
Extra tasting tokens (five for $5) can be purchased online or along the route at Citizens Bank.
For those purchasing on site, ticket locations will open at 2:30 p.m. at two sites — Marys Peak True Value and Beggs Tires.
Lewis mentioned that the paper tickets that had been used in the past are gone and replaced by wooden tokens — which fits in better with the timber town theme of Philomath.
“My husband and I went to a different wine walk and it was kind of an upscale one and they had these wooden tokens,” she said. “Of course, we’re in the timber industry here and I said, ‘oh my gosh, I have to have these.’”
Watkins had the perfect sponsor, Interfor, lined up to cover the wooden token expenses.
“I think it’ll just feel like a little step up on the event,” she said.
Besides the alcohol-tasting locations, also on the Sip & Stroll list of stops are two snow cone vendors (located at the Fir Country Cottage and Beggs Tire), cold brew coffee (Citizens Bank) and two food vendors — Mauna Loa Grill (Marys Peak True Value) and Mud Oven Pizza (Timber Towne Coffee). In addition, bottled water will be available at Citizens Bank.
Raffle tickets can be purchased at Ark Animal Hospital and Compton Family Wines. The Meet’n Place plans to have live music.
Starker Forest donated a tour bus for the event, which will offer free transportation.