You may notice in the sidebar on this blog I’ve got a list of Central Oregon breweries and a section marked “Planned / proposed / rumored / in development” where I try to keep track of the various up-and-coming breweries I’ve heard about. Well, this list needs to be updated and added to, as an article this week in our local Bend Bulletin has five more breweries coming to the area, predicting 25 total by the end of the year:
- Oblivion Brewing Company
- North Rim Brewing
- Bridge 99 Brewery
- Juniper Brewing Company
- River Bend Brewing
I’ve seen all of these names but Juniper Brewing, that’s a new one coming to Redmond. And of course I pointed to Mark’s post breaking the news about Oblivion (they have a release party coming up on the 24th at Broken Top Bottle Shop). The Bulletin’s article (behind their paywall, alas, so I can’t link to it) fleshes out additional details:
“I’m inspired by all the other small breweries that have popped up,” said Darin Butschy, owner of Oblivion Brewing Co. “I feel there’s still room for other breweries to come.”
Butschy, who was formerly a head brewer for what is now Firestone Walker Brewing Co., in Paso Robles, Calif., said he’s been working on his Bend brewery for the past 18 months and has a release party scheduled at Broken Top Bottle Shop on Aug. 24. His niche is a traditional style of beer, following the recipe of an old German beer from the 1500s that calls for only four ingredients: barley, hops, water and yeast.
Shane Neilsen, co-owner of North Rim Brewing — another Bend brewery that plans to start brewing for distribution this month — agreed.
“I don’t look at them as competition. I look at them more as mentors, because they’ve proven to be successful,” he said, referring to the established breweries. “There’s plenty of room. All the stores can’t wait for more breweries in town so they can have a bigger selection.”
He has plans for a 10-barrel system to produce standards like IPAs and stouts, and hopes to leave his current general contracting job behind to brew full time. All he needs is the rest of his equipment to come in and government approvals, he said.
[Bridge 99 Brewery owner Trever] Hawman, who has been a homebrewer for the past six years, is also waiting for OLCC approval for Bridge 99. He expects to have a 1.5-barrel system within his Bend home and have beer distributed at Wubba’s BBQ Shack off Layton Avenue.
Another former homebrewer, Curtis Endicott, has bought his building off Southwest Badger Avenue in Redmond and is hoping for a January start for his two-barrel brewery, Juniper Brewing Co.
River Bend, which isn’t mentioned but briefly in the article, is the brewpub that’s going into Rivals Sports Bar on northeast Division Street.
And today, Ezra over at the New School has details on North Rim Brewing beyond what the Bulletin article published: they plan to bottle right away with three flagship beers (Single Track IPA, Skyline Belgian Pale, and Roundabout Stout), three 30-bbl fermenters in addition to their 10-bbl brewhouse and additional bright tanks on the way. They also plan to put out a pumpkin beer seasonal.
So, these additions put Bend and Central Oregon at 25 breweries by year’s end (assuming all goes as planned and paperwork is signed, etc.), though even then there’s still potentially on the horizon: three off the top of my head which have been mentioned are the Brew Shop/Platypus Pub‘s (small) brewpub, the “Old Mill Marketplace” brewpub, and a possible rumored brewery at Brasada Ranch Resort out by Powell Butte (between Bend and Prineville). Plus there’s a bunch of other potential names I’ve been discovering lately that I will be following up on (but may only be names and nothing else).
But 25! That puts Central Oregon at nearly half of the number of breweries in Portland (51 at last count) and who knows where the current rate of growth will put the region by the end of next year. The question naturally arises—again—of how many is too many, but according to the city of Bend, they don’t have a cap on how many breweries Bend can have and they will continue to support the industry growth. But my answer is still, “I don’t know.”
One thing I do know: I have trouble keeping up with the 20 we have now!