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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rogue Buying the Green Dragon?

So sayeth Angelo:
According to reliable and undisclosed sources, Rogue will purchase what is currently the Green Dragon Pub and Bistro. One source says “Apparently papers are to be signed Friday (November 14). Officially no one has been fired but no one is expecting to have a job and they already have new people lined up. They are going to close down the Dragon on Monday for three days which is some kind of legal thing to change over ownership of the business. No employee is promised a job after this week.” Another source reported that Loren “Lolo” Lancaster still remains a 1/3 owner of the establishment, and the brewer and publican is trying to find a means to stop the changeover. It is also unclear whether the switch will even be totally legal. This will mean no more eclectic tap offerings outside of Rogue’s own brands and perhaps a limited guest taps at the location. What started out as one of the best beer bars in Portland will simply become another Rogue location.
Methinks Angelo is going to get his Rogue Nation membership terminated:
Rogue was founded by University of Oregon frat brother Jack Joyce and Bob Woodell and another friend Rob Strasser in 1988. Joyce, a former CEO, and supposed Coors drinker, and his comrades currently offer no happy hour at any of their ten locations.
Rogue responded, criticizing a few of the details in the post, but not its substance. Consider it a go.

[Update: Foyston confirms. Joyce downplays how much it will change, but make no mistake, it's going to change markedly.]


  1. Here is the response from Rogue from the Oregonian blog.
    It would be a crime against antiquities for the Dragon to be slain.

    Preservation of such pubs is part of the Rogue DNA - West Brothers in Eugene, Issaquah Brewhouse in Washington, Bogart's and the original location of Portland Pyramid-Magic Hat in PDX .

    Since its inception in 1988, Rogue has provided its nation members with a wide array of non-Rogue craft and non-craft ales, porters, stouts, and lagers, and will continue this tradition at the Green Dragon along with the tradition of brewer nights.

    Rogue and the Green Dragon share a revolutionary spirit. The original Green Dragon Tavern in Boston was the gathering place of Paul Revere and Samuel Adams in the days leading up to the American Revolution. Rogue is a small revolution, which expresses itself through handcrafted Ales, Porters, Stouts, Lagers and Spirits, and the way in which we conduct our business. Rogue gladly welcomes the Green Dragon's employees, friends, and customers to the Rogue family of revolutionaries.

    I'm not holding my breath with the "not much will change" talk.

    So Jack, are you going to honor my Mug club membership?

    Going to school in Eugene I saw how West Brothers changed, what part of that was preserved? Fair enough it was another bar in between, but all the Beatles murals were painted over, walls filled out with more Rogue pictures and awards, the beers all changed to Rogue beers and a few from the on-site Rogue brewery. Half the place was filled up with Rogue bottles and merch for sale. The staff became your typical half arsed Rogue staff, sorry to the few nice people that work there, but I've had to many bad experiences at Rogue pubs with the staff. Oh, and prices went through the ceiling.

    Umm... nothing will change... I hope it doesn't follow history.

    Man, all this ranting and i'm starting to sound like Dr. Wort, wait something is missing ;-} there that's better.

  2. Lots of consternation over there at Angelo's. The problem is, while lots of people love the Green Dragon, there either aren't enough of them buying the beer to pay the bills, or the owners aren't operating it efficiently enough to make it profitable.

    Personally, I am much more upset about Genoa closing down. Then again, if I cared enough, I would have eaten there more recently than 2002.

  3. i went to the Rogue public house in San Fran and they were serving Budweiser and Coors Light side-by-side with their own beers so they may decide to keep some of the eclectic taps in play.

    i thought: "who the f**k goes to Rogue to drink Coors Light?" i guess their (former) CEO does.

    the man should be 86'd from his own pubs.

  4. 1. I am a proud member in good standing of Rogue Nation. Rogue does things their own way, and it's a good way. Shakespeare Stout and Brutal Bitter (ironically, not that bitter) are Oregon standouts.

    2. I agree that on balance, this does tend to suck. That Rogue is cool doesn't mitigate the fact that there are few bars in the city where you have a selection of a dozen world-class beers from the region, country, and world. Looks like we have one fewer.

    As a final corrolary, a few months ago, I did a poll about your fave pubs, and Green Dragon was a tight third, just barely edged out by Bailey's (of course, the Horse Brass was number 1). It's hard to see the Rogue/Green Dragon even making the faves list.

  5. Jfwells,

    I doubt it was due to a lack of audience (although you might be correct in efficiency).

    When I first started going to the Green Dragon the place was quiet, which I really enjoyed. Over the past year though they had really picked up, my normal quiet Sunday hang out had become a hoppin spot even early on a Sunday. A much larger crowd then the Brass or Bailey's normally has.

  6. Definitely sad sad news. I was there just yesterday and there was no hint of trouble. I even told the wonderful bartendress "see you next time" and she said okay.

    I find it hard to believe that it won't change. Even if they "only" took over half the taps with Rogue ales it still would be a big change.

  7. That's a nice diplomatic answer Jeff.

    Play it safe! You don't want any nasty emails from Rogue's lawyers.

    Personaly, I'm still reeling over the loss of Rose and Raindrop. There won't be another place like that. Green Dragon will be, yet another sad loss for the Portland beer community. Lets just hope for little change in the Green Dragon and the hope of not seeing 18 taps of Rogue brews with a BUD and Coors rounding it up....

  8. Is there a Boycott brewin'?


  9. A wink and a smile used to go a long way....



  10. Play it safe! You don't want any nasty emails from Rogue's lawyers.

    I love it when anonymous posters call me a coward. I see that they are irony-proof!

  11. Diplomacy.

    That was a serious statement. Not calling you a coward at all. Considering the possible EYES watching these posts, being diplomatic is an intelligent direction.

    Irony? Maybe, maybe not! One needs to think about the possible audience before making certain statements. If your audience is just local beer guys, anything goes. If your audience can send lawyers and law suits to your front door, one needs keep that in mind. Diplomacy has a place at the right time.

    What you may think of as a jab towards your courage, some see as an intelligent move in restraint and diplomacy. Nice job Jeff.

  12. Irony-proof--fair enough. Seemed like there was more mustard on the comment than you allow, but I will cop to being oversensitive--

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  14. Yes it is true that I will no longer be the owner of the Green Dragon. While I am bummed out it didn’t work out with me as owner –I am grateful to Rogue for stepping in and doing the things that we could not. The city is requiring the building to be sprinkled, doors to be inset, walls to be built separating the brewery. They have additionally tacked on over 51k in CBC fees. Completing the brewery should take another 50k or so. The building has to be sprinkled by February in order to stay open. Lolo and I don’t have the resources to do this—the consequences being that everyone would lose their favorite watering hole, and several employees would lose their jobs…..which is why I began talking to Rogue. Viewing them as the enemy is silly—they are doing Portland and Green Dragon customers a favor by keeping this institution alive. I’d give them a break and see how things develop –their reasons for stepping in, as I understand it, are that they too fell in love with the Dragon and want to take what we started (19 rotating taps etc., meet the brewers nights, etc) and run with it.

    I think emotions run high due to our feelings for the Green Dragon. Mine certainly are as well. In my dealings with Rogue I have gotten a sense that their heart is in the right place on wanting to take care of the customers, employees (providing them with health insurance and matching 401k which I could not) and Founders Club – If anybody has questions about anything—I’ll be in this Tuesday for Meet the Brewer and would be glad to answer any specific questions then.

    Best to you,

    Ed Schwartz
    Green Dragon Brewpub

  15. Went there over the weekend, have been a fan of the Green Dragon since it opened. Its done. The speciality beers are gone and so am I.

    Screw Rogue. Never going to Green Dragon again, never have liked Rogue and now I for sure will never give them my time of day. Never go to the Rogue pub, never going to buy a rogue beer.

    Later Rogue, yuppies. I'm going Rogue on Rogue. Eat my dust...