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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Central Oregon Beer Community

Since we've been on a Central Oregon beer jag these last few days, it makes sense that Cascade Business News would do a story on it. Not a whole lot new here to people who follow beer closely, but this passage paints a very nice picture of what the community is like there:

Observers might think seven local brewpubs naturally would compete against each other, especially during economic downtimes, to persuade consumers to pull up a stool at their bar over another’s, but that’s not the case at all here in Bend, according to industry insiders. Locally, everyone does what they can to help each other out to the point of sharing ingredients in a pinch when a fellow brew master may be running a little short.

“Out there in Central Oregon getting supplies can be difficult,” Kennelly said. “We’ve had to use grain or hops from the Deschutes Brewery, the Bend Brewing Co. and Silver Moon Brewing when we get caught without something we need faster than we can get it from Portland. A lot of breweries down there exchange yeast, especially during Octoberfest, use it and pass it around. It really helps down there since Bend is not close to any (distributors).”

Fish agrees with Kennelly, saying his company regularly invites other breweries to bring beers to industry events where Deschutes is a highlighted craft brewer.

“We’ve tried to be as open as we can with everybody across the state,” Fish said. “That kind of community exists in Central Oregon and beyond. Nationally, craft brewers have four percent of the market divided between 1,400-or-so companies. We’ve developed some good friendships and alliances that exist outside of that competitive environment.”

Underwood says that having seven craft brewers with headquarters in Central Oregon means better beer choices for locals and for people visiting the area and that helps the word get out about the quality and standards applied to the beer-making process in Bend.

“Of course I would prefer that people drink a Three Creeks brew, but I’m just as happy to see people come to Central Oregon and try out a Deschutes brew, or have a beer produced at the Cascade Lakes Brewing Company, or better yet spend a week here doing a brewery tour,” he said. “This is a real supportive market and it’s better for everyone when any single one of us gets any type of exposure outside of the region.”


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