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|Wednesday, October 01, 2008|
OREGON'S CRAFT BEER INDUSTRY GROWS UP.
BY BEN JACKLETWhat is it with Oregon and its beer?
Is it the climate? The water? The hops? A parochial form of beer-based patriotism? A statewide predilection for the niche market with a dreamy upside, be it solar power, organic produce or India Pale Ale?
Metro Portland has 38 breweries, more than any other city in the world. Statewide there are 80. In other states craft brewers dream of a future where 10% of the draft beer poured in pubs and taverns will be independently brewed by local artisans. Here that figure is nearing 40% and it won’t remain a minority share much longer. New brewpubs are bubbling with customers in small towns and cities all over the state, and the beer pioneers who launched the industry continue to grow, evolve and spawn creative start-ups. Two notable recent additions to Oregon’s brewpub population, Three Creeks Brewery Co. in Sisters, and Double Mountain in Hood River, were entrepreneurial efforts by former employees of the Lucky Labrador Brewing Company in Portland and Full Sail Brewing in Hood River.
No other state can match Oregon’s thirst for and fascination with craft beer or the robust diversity of its brewing industry, from the plucky Roots Organic Brewing Company of North Portland to the sprawling 2,000-job empire of the McMenamin brothers. Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s “Economic Vision for Oregon,” written in October 2006 to chart a strategy for the “innovation state,” singles out the “distinctive taste of an Oregon micro-brew” as a home-brewed innovation propelling the economy forward. Portland writer Jeff Alworth, author of the blog Beervana, compares Oregon’s beer culture to the Italian Renaissance.
PHOTOS BY DENISE FARWELL
ROGUE BOSS OF A ROGUE NATION
The 65-year-old Rogue founder is quick to reject or contradict the typical answer to that question, or any question for that matter. But get him talking, and powerful themes emerge: the interrelated powers of instinct, creative freedom, irreverence and good ideas. Oh yeah, and then there is the fact that Joyce was deeply involved from Day One with Nike’s launch and development of the Air Jordan brand. He knows a thing or two about pricing, marketing and brand loyalty. He understands the importance of developing world-class products that are worth a premium to consumers. He respects the power of “unique thunder,” his term for the creative interplay between consumer and business at the point of sale.
“The other thing we got out of Nike was a board,” he says. “We started at zero and we couldn’t afford the talent, but we had beer. So we got a nonshareholder board that’s been with us for years, which includes the former president of Nike, the former president of Adidas USA and the guy who ran production at Nike.”
DESCHUTES RIDES A SWIFT CURRENT
So was Central Oregon. Evoking the beauty of the high desert with brews like Bachelor Bitter and Obsidian Stout was a great strategy in Oregon. Winning market share outside of the Northwest, where people don’t think of Bachelor as a mountain, has proved more difficult.
“We have a lot of people on the East Coast who love our beer,” he says. “We would like to get it to them. We think that we will, but we don’t know how. Does it make sense in this era of $4 a gallon gasoline to make beer in Bend and ship it to New York? Probably not. Does it make more sense to make it on the East Coast? Yeah. If we can make it the Deschutes way. If we can make it to our standards. That kind of an alliance could be with a big brewery, it could be with a small brewery. Who knows?”
CRAFT BREWERS ALLIANCE (FORMERLY WIDMER BROTHERS BREWERY)
GOING PUBLIC, GOING NATIONAL
The newly formed Craft Brewers Alliance operates breweries in Washington, New Hampshire and Portland and holds minority stakes in Kona Brewing Co. of Hawaii and Goose Island Beer Company of Chicago. The move should lead to all sorts of synergies and economies of scale over time, but Kurt, 56, says first thing’s first: “So many of our people have been in deal mode for a long, long time. It’s nice to have them out of deal mode and back in beer-brewing and beer-selling mode, doing what they should be doing.”
The distribution partnership with Anheuser Busch has enabled Widmer to grow into a national brand that performs well in Northern Virginia, North Carolina and Southern California as well as the Northwest. It has also brought backlash from some beer purists who equate Anheuser-Busch with pure evil. Never mind that it has never had anything to do with how Widmer brews its beer.
FULL SAIL BREWING
BACK FROM THE BRINK, FULL STEAM AHEAD
Irene Firmat stopped off at the Full Sail pub in Hood River midway through a busy day when a customer informed her that her brewery had been sold to Miller.
Ten years later, Full Sail’s board voted 4-2 to sell the company, with Firmat and her husband, brewmaster Jamie Emmerson, voting no. The top bidder was Vijay Mallya of United Breweries Ltd., who made it clear he was interested in the Full Sail brand — not the brewery. “For us to look people in the eye who had built the company,” she says shaking her head. “I couldn’t do it. They would have ended up with nothing.”
Firmat borrowed money to set up an employee stock fund and assemble a counter-offer. She and her husband personally guaranteed the loans. Their offer couldn’t compete with that of United Breweries, but when United pulled out one hour before the deadline, they had an opening. “Everyone was waiting in the pub to hear, and when we called and said it was a go, you could hear this scream rise up in the pub. It was incredible.”
Friday, October 31, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland? The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented. But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Seven tidbits about the president and CEO of AKT Group.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
A conversation with attorney Erich Merrill about the latest way to raise money from large groups of people.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
BY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
By now, anyone who knows about it has a position on President Obama’s executive order on immigration. The executive order is the outcome of failed attempts at getting a bill through the normal legislative process. Both Obama and his predecessor came close, but not close enough since the process broke down multiple times.
Sunday, December 07, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
On Friday, Uber switched on an app — and with one push of the button torpedoed Portland’s famed public process.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:
The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace.
Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.
This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay.
Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.
New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”
That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!
Thursday, December 18, 2014
BY MEGHAN NOLT
VIDEO: Under the radar — complete with a soda counter, the traditional Paulsen's Pharmacy looks to compete with big box retailers.
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While the Bend City Council ultimately upheld the approval which enables OSU-Cascades to move forward with the 10 acre site, it did also thoughtfully consider the nature of its code requirements, resident concerns and OSU-Cascade’s efforts and suggestions and crafted conditions of approval to address potential impacts of the site in the area.