ROANOKE, Va. – It’s bad news for beer lovers. One of the largest summer events in downtown Roanoke won't be happening again.
Deschutes Brewery has discontinued its Street Pub events across the country, including in the Star City. Each of the last three years, thousands of people came out to the events centered around Elmwood Park. Many of them traveled for hours to get to Roanoke.
The events raised more than $290,000 for local nonprofits and were also a boost for local businesses. Deschutes held similar events in 13 U.S. cities, raising more than a million dollars total for charities.
A Deschutes Brewery spokeswoman said the company thought it was an “awesome” event but never planned on keeping it going year after year.
“Events run their course,” spokeswoman Erin Rankin said.
The company is still participating in the big Go Cross event in Roanoke in August as well as events like GO Fest and FloydFest. It will also continue its ongoing events and programs it holds through its downtown Roanoke tasting room, including donating $1 for every pint sold to a local charity every Tuesday.
“We're still involved in a lot of community events,” employee Gina Schauland said. “We feel it's really important. We want to be a community gathering place for this area.”
Rankin said Deschutes is looking for new events to engage its fans, but it won’t have anything ready this year.
The cancellation also hurts local restaurants, like Martin's, which was also an on-site vendor.
"It's disappointing but events don't last forever and sometimes things have to come to an end,” said Jason Martin, owner of Martin's. “But we'll miss it for sure because it was definitely a nice boost for business on the days that we had them in town.”
Many consider the Street Pub to be one of the top five events for bringing business to downtown Roanoke.
“It's disappointing. It brings a ton of people to downtown,” said Scotty Smith, owner of Ernie's. “We're going to miss out on some customers. Everybody downtown will end up taking it on the chin for that one.”
In November, Deschutes said that its plans to build a brewery in Roanoke are on hold and may not happen. The company originally said it would spend $95 million and hire more than 100 people for the location.
Deschutes must inform the city of its plans for a new brewery by the end of March.