“Honestly, I give all the credit for Black Butte Porter to Jim Kennedy. He was the one who tried the beers and said, ‘Look, everybody’s coming out with light-colored beers, but this is a beer that’s different, and this is a beer that can capture the consumer. And be different. The dark-beer pie is not as big, but you could own the whole thing. We probably would have tried to go with Cascade Golden Ale or Bachelor Bitter. Full Sail Golden Ale was their lead brand, Portland Ale was their lead brand. Everybody was really on the ultra-light side of the color spectrum.Who knows how significant this decision turned out to be. Maybe if Gary had gone with the Golden Deschutes would now be a modest-sized brewery. We only know the history as it was--Deschutes got off to a great start with Black Butte, was partly responsible for popularizing dark beers in Oregon, and launched itself on a trajectory to make it one of America's largest craft breweries by 2009. History is a capricious lady.
“At the time, Admiralty Beverage represented Widmer as well as us. They had a sales pitch that they would sell Widmer Hefeweizen and Black Butte Porter together. ‘ Every restaurant has salt and pepper on the table; this is your salt and pepper in your beer line-up.’”
By the way, Jim Kennedy played a major role in helping popularize craft beer in Oregon, too. (He's also the namesake for Hair of the Dog's legendary "Jim.") John Foyston re-printed a couple columns about Jim last month, and they're well worth a read if you're unfamiliar with this piece of Oregon's brewing history.