Our recent spate of new breweries

Bend BeerThe Bulletin ran an article yesterday (behind the paywall, alas) detailing the five(!) new breweries coming to Central Oregon this year, as well as expansion plans among existing ones. The news ones coming are:

  • Oblivion Brewing Company
  • North Rim Brewing
  • Bridge 99 Brewery
  • Juniper Brewing Company
  • River Bend Brewing

Most of these names I’d already heard, and in Oblivion’s case fellow beer blogger Mark Lindner broke the news about them before anyone else, but Juniper Brewing Company was one I hadn’t heard about yet. The articles fleshes these out a bit:

“I’m inspired by all the other small breweries that have popped up,” said Darin Butschy, owner of Oblivion Brewing Co. “I feel there’s still room for other breweries to come.”

Butschy, who was formerly a head brewer for what is now Firestone Walker Brewing Co., in Paso Robles, Calif., said he’s been working on his Bend brewery for the past 18 months and has a release party scheduled at Broken Top Bottle Shop on Aug. 24. His niche is a traditional style of beer, following the recipe of an old German beer from the 1500s that calls for only four ingredients: barley, hops, water and yeast.

Shane Neilsen, co-owner of North Rim Brewing — another Bend brewery that plans to start brewing for distribution this month — agreed.

“I don’t look at them as competition. I look at them more as mentors, because they’ve proven to be successful,” he said, referring to the established breweries. “There’s plenty of room. All the stores can’t wait for more breweries in town so they can have a bigger selection.”

He has plans for a 10-barrel system to produce standards like IPAs and stouts, and hopes to leave his current general contracting job behind to brew full time. All he needs is the rest of his equipment to come in and government approvals, he said.

[Bridge 99 Brewery owner Trever] Hawman, who has been a homebrewer for the past six years, is also waiting for OLCC approval for Bridge 99. He expects to have a 1.5-barrel system within his Bend home and have beer distributed at Wubba’s BBQ Shack off Layton Avenue.

Another former homebrewer, Curtis Endicott, has bought his building off Southwest Badger Avenue in Redmond and is hoping for a January start for his two-barrel brewery, Juniper Brewing Co.

The Bulletin article also touches on the “how many is too many?” question [the answer is a bit of a dodge—nobody knows—but “the city has no cap on how many breweries Bend can have”], as well as some of the expansion plans from existing (newer) breweries like Smith Rock, Sunriver, and Rat Hole.

The only one not detailed in the article, River Bend will I believe be a part of Rivals Sports Bar on northeast Division (right across from Riverview Park at a bend in the river).

And, there are still a few names I’ve come across that didn’t make this list, so one has to wonder, if we’ll have 25 by the end of this year, how many breweries will be have by the end of 2014?

2 thoughts on “Our recent spate of new breweries

  1. The more the merrier, I say! I’m actually surprised no one has chosen “Central Oregon Brewing” for a name yet. It seems so obvious. Maybe I should start a brewery with that name! Or Crooked River Brewing, Metolius Brewing, Painted Hills Brewery, etc.

  2. The how many is too many question is an interesting one. I am sure that few people thought that so many people would pay so much for good coffee. Starbucks did. Craft breweries make up less than 10% of the beer consumption in the US. So there is no lack of demand for beer that stops the craft brewery explosion.

    While there are a lot of breweries in town, most are not dependent on the local population for the majority of their revenue. I do believe that shelf space and distribution channels will in the end, limit the expansion of small breweries, along with local ecological issues like wastewater treatment. Also Budweiser and Coors are not going to ignore the craft market much longer – they are going to either buy there way in – Goose Island – or produce their way in – Blue Moon.

    I think it is interesting to note that Bend, a desert location, is now a major exporter of water!

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