The Brew Site

Rat Hole Brewing, another potential Bend brewery

The Bend Bulletin today reports on yet another potential brewery to open in Bend: Rural brewery in the works: Rat Hole Brewing owners are setting up shop southeast of Bend.

Another Central Oregon brewery is under construction, but this time the owners have chosen to open outside city limits, steering clear of sewer capacity problems in the region’s downtown areas.

Rat Hole Brewing will be housed in a small outbuilding on 10 acres of rural land southeast of Bend, a short walk from the brewery owners’ house.

Al Toepfer and his fiancee, Susan McIntosh, with whom he owns the business, are working on installing a walk-in cooler to store kegs and bottles of beer. Toepfer’s one-barrel brew system is sitting in the outbuilding waiting for commercial use.

But first, the couple needs to install a septic system and receive approval from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission before brewing beer for sale, which could be six months to a year away, Toepfer said.

Bottom line, it sounds like a similar operation to what Below Grade is doing, though I’m a bit concerned about the “steering clear of sewer capacity problems” and the need to install a septic system; it seems to me, a septic system is not suitable for commercial brewing (even at only 1 bbl—31 gallons) and you really need the appropriate drainage setup. (I could be wrong, of course, assuming there are commercial-grade septic systems that can handle something like this?)

And interestingly, the Bulletin article contains this line: “But even with its location outside Bend, Rat Hole must find a way to succeed in a region with 12 breweries and six more under construction, including Rat Hole.” (Emphasis mine.)

The problem is, I can’t figure out what the sixth brewery is supposed to be; I’ve got the 12 active and the five in development (now including Rat Hole) updated on my sidebar tracker, but if there is in fact a sixth—what is it?

The only thing I can find in a cursory search is a listing on Beer Me! for a “Fish River Brewing” in Bend… only, that’s actually traced back to an April Fool’s Day post made by Brewpublic back in 2009—in other words, it ain’t for real.

I suppose it’s possible that brewery #6 is the new Brew Shop and Platypus Pub (in their new location in Bend, more on that soon), where they are tentatively set up to brew small (homebrew-sized) batches of beer that they could put on tap.

Anyone know of another “for real” brewery in development in Central Oregon?