Deschutes Brewery will be on the East Coast by 2019

Deschutes BreweryIt’s no secret that Deschutes Brewery has been eyeing the East Coast for expansion for a while now. The 27-year-old brewery is #7 on the Brewers Association’s list of Top 50 craft breweries, and they are shipping beer to something like 28 states and two Canadian provinces, so it makes sense—shipping and refrigeration of liquids is expensive, not to mention environmentally costly from a carbon footprint viewpoint.

So it was interesting this weekend to see an article come out of Asheville, North Carolina—itself quite a beer town, not unlike Bend—highlighting that as a possible destination for a new Deschutes production facility. Here are some quotes:

Representatives from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon, the sixth-largest craft brewer in the country, visited Asheville in December and plan a second trip in late May, according to company president Michael LaLonde, who spoke highly of the mountain region.

Among the sites company officials visited was the 137-acre parcel Buncombe County recently bought from Henderson County for $6.8 million to entice an undisclosed economic development prospect.

“We’re looking at a number of locations in a number of states,” LaLonde said. “We’re looking in North Carolina, we’ve looked in Virginia, we’ve looked in Tennessee, as well as South Carolina.”

The brewery also looked at sites in the Greenville and Charleston, South Carolina, areas, LaLonde said. The company was impressed with Greenville.

The company plans to open an East Coast operation by 2019, LaLonde said, “so we have a little time, but not much.” He said the search and securing land would likely take about a year, with construction taking another year.

Plans call for a brewery that could produce about 200,000 barrels of beer annually, with the capability for growth. That would require about 100 employees for the brewery and packaging operation, and another 100 or so if it adds a brewpub on site.

Deschutes would be joining a small-but-growing number of regional craft brewers who have expanded east, including New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, and Oskar Blues (also in the Asheville area), Lagunitas (Chicago) and Stone (building a brewery in Virginia). And from an historic standpoint (since this is a blog about Bend’s beer history, after all!) it’s amazing to watch the continued success of a brewery that almost didn’t make it way back in 1988 when they opened in the economically-depressed milltown-in-transition of Bend.

It will certainly make an interesting addition to a future edition of the book!

Happy National Beer Day!

Bend Beer on April 7, 1933Happy National Beer Day! It was on this day, April 7, in 1933 that the Cullen–Harrison Act went into effect—the legislation that legalized the sale of beer with an alcohol content of 3.2% by weight (or 4% by volume), which heralded the end of Prohibition.

Since this blog is about Bend’s beer history, I looked up the issue of the Bend Bulletin for April 7, 1933,  and thought it would be fun to reprint the local article on the day here. Enjoy!

Bend’s Beer Supply Disappears Quickly

Bars Are Busy Places For Short Time Today

One “Free Lunch” Appears When Customer Brings It From Own Pocket

Beer, clear as liquid amber and capped with white foam, made its appearance in Bend shortly before 11 o’clock this morning and for the first time in 17 years local residents publicly, uafriad ad in groups quaffed an alcoholic beverage. But the quaffing did not last long. In less than two hours the half-barrel allotments to local pool halls had disappeared and the bars, minus their brass rails, were again deserted. [Illegible] early hour this afternoon, Bend was again “dry”, so far as beer on draught was concerned.

Only five kegs, each holding 16 gallons, reached Bend in the first shipment, and one of the five was sent to Prineville. At one pool hall the beer supply was exhausted in 40 minutes, with three “bar tenders” sliding out the foam-capped glasses just as fast as an open space appeared.

One of the highlights of the morning was the appearance of Fred Gotchey at a bar with a lunch. He ordered a glass of beer, his first in 20 years, pulled out his lunch and sipped and ate.

Bottled goods were being distributed this afternoon and it was expected that another shipment of kegs would reach the town sometime tonight or early tomorrow.

Opinions were varied as to the “kick” of the percentage beer and it appeared to be the general opinion that America will never be known as a nation of drunkards as long as the alcoholic content of drinks is kept at 3.2 per cent. However, some persons whose taste had not been dulled by high-content home brew maintained that the 3.2 per cent stuff is just as good as the beer of the old days.

Legalized beer has its advantage, one very thirsty man said. For instance, a person can enjoy a drink from a bottle without paying any attention to the bottom or fearing that the beverage will be discolored by yeast sediment.

One man who drank enough glasses of the beverage to get himself into a reminiscent mood said he recalled that back some 17 years ago prohibitionists said it would be a “cold day” when beer returned. This reminiscent individual, wrapped in a heavy overcoat, added that the prohibitionists were right.