Big changes in the Bend brewing scene

The news broke today in Bend’s local alt-weekly The Source and I have to say I’m pretty stunned: Tonya Cornett of Bend Brewing will be joining 10 Barrel Brewing later this year, and Deschutes Brewery‘s #2 brewer, Jimmy Seifert, has joined 10 Barrel as well.

10 Barrel partner Garret Wales confirmed that the Bend brewery… has hired Tonya Cornett from Bend Brewing Company (BBC). Cornett, who was recognized as the small brewpub brew master of the year for 2008 by the World Beer Cup, has been with BBC for almost a decade helping to solidify the small brewery’s reputation as one of the premier craft breweries in Oregon. Wales said Cornett won’t formally move to 10 Barrel until midsummer at the earliest and perhaps not before the end of the year, depending on when 10 Barrel gets its planned brewhouse expansion up and running… In the meantime, Cornett will continue to brew for BBC, he said.

“She plays an integral role in Bend Brewing and we want to be really sensitive about that…and give her the opportunity to make a smooth transition,” Wales said.

Wales said Cornett isn’t the only significant hire as of late for 10 Barrel. Wales said 10 Barrel hired longtime Deschutes brewer Jimmy Seifert to assume the brew master duties at 10 Barrel. Wales said Seifert, who started this month, has years of valuable brewing experience serving as Deschutes brew master Larry Sidor’s right-hand man, as Wales put it. He added that Seifert also has helped oversee Deschutes multiple production expansions and is comfortable working with a larger scale production line like the one that 10 Barrel is preparing to install.

The planned expansion 10 Barrel is talking about is slated to increase production from a 10-barrel system to a 50 barrels, and was the motivator in hiring both Cornett and Seifert.

I would not have guessed this was coming, especially for Cornett, who was already running the show and producing world-class beers at BBC, but I suppose the chance to join what is in many ways still a start-up brewery (compared to how long both Deschutes and BBC have been around, and considering 10 Barrel’s new pub just opened last year) has a particular appeal.

I’ll be particularly interested in seeing what brews 10 Barrel starts producing under Seifert and (later) Cornett. Seifert is the one of the brewers behind The Abyss and the one responsible for The Dissident, among many other world-class Deschutes beers.

Update: BBC and Cornett have both clarified her continued role with Bend Brewing, even as she brews for 10 Barrel.

3 Responses to Big changes in the Bend brewing scene

  1. Kina says:

    wow

    period

    More later. This is crazy talk.

  2. Bill Night says:

    Wow, that’s breathtaking. It will be interesting to see what direction they take, and what name they choose since 10 Barrel is obsolete now.

  3. Jon says:

    Yes, the name issue crossed my mind as well. I’ve always thought 10 Barrel was a cutesy name at best but one they would eventually outgrow.

    Still absorbing all the implications of this, but it’s interesting to note that Garrett Wales left a comment on the original article, mentioning, “Also want to reiterate that Tonya, even after she is with us full-time, will still play a yet to be determined roll with BBC and stay involved with their brewery.”