Today is Tonya Cornett’s 46th birthday. Tonya was the brewmaster of Bend Brewing in Oregon, for a number of years, but not too long ago moved to another Bend brewery — 10 Barrel Brewing — to become their R&D brewer. She was featured prominently in the film, The Love of Beer. Tonya’s a great brewer and, of course, being born 1 day and ten years after me makes her a terrific human being, too. Join me in wishing Tonya a very happy birthday.
Today is, maybe and only kinda, the 31st birthday of Jessica Jones, COO of Ninkasi Brewing. I say maybe, because I’m guessing at her age, and oly kinda because her birthday is actually February 29, but as there’s no leap day this year then she can celebrate either today or tomorrow. When I first met Jessica, she was blogging at beer as the Thirsty Hopster and helped do some of the behind-the-scenes setup when I founded the Bay Area Beer Bloggers. She then put her education to good use by getting a job with Firestone Walker, and found that she liked working for a brewery. So she went back to school and got her MBA, before moving to Portland. Since 2011, she’s been keeping Ninkasi Brewing humming, and keeping Jamie in line. It’s been fun to watch Jessica’s evolution in the beer world, and how amazing she’s made Ninkasi. Join me in wishing Jessica a very happy birthday.
Today is the 71st birthday of Art Larrance, co-founder of the Oregon Brewers Festival, and also a co-founder of Portland Brewing, too. Art later started the Raccoon Lodge, in 1998, and more recently launched the Cascade Barrel Brewing House to concentrate on sour beers. In 2012, Art was named Restaurateur of the Year by the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. But I know him best for his continuing work on OBF, which he’s been doing since the beginning of time, or at least 1988. Join me in wishing Art a very happy birthday.
Today is Larry Sidor’s 65th birthday. Larry brewed for a long time at the Olympia Brewery in Washington before moving on to Deschutes Brewing Co. in Bend, Oregon. He left Deschutes at the end of 2011 to strike out on his own, and opened the Crux Fermentation Project, which is also in Bend. Larry’s a great brewer, of course, and an even nicer person. Join me in wishing Larry a very happy birthday.
Today is brewer Teri Fahrendorf‘s 29th birthday again. That number is pure conjecture, but it sure seems right for a woman who spent a year or so on the road, criss-crossing the United States twice visiting friends and colleagues in the brewing world. Sadly, I was out-of-town when she passed through the Bay Area that year. Teri was the brewmaster for the Steelhead Brewing chain for nearly two decades before leaving on her odyssey. You can relive that journey her Road Brewer adventures. She also founded the Pink Boots Society, an organization celebrating women in the brewing industry. These days, she’s a territory manager for the Country Malt Group. Join me in wishing Teri a very happy birthday.
Teri behind the Steelhead Brewing booth at GABF in 2006.
Teri Fahrendorf, then head of brewing operations for Steelhead accepting the Silver Medal for U.C.I.P.A. in Category: 14 Cellar or Unfiltered Beer at GABF.
After a panel discussion at GABF on women in brewing. From left: Carol Stoudt (from Stoudts Brewing), Jennifer Talley (from Squatter’s Pub Brewery), Natalie Cilurzo (from Russian River) and Teri Fahrendorf.
Today is the 43rd birthday of Jamie Floyd, co-owner/brewer of Ninkasi Brewing in Eugene, Oregon. Jamie has been a fixture in the Oregon brewing scene for many years, having brewed at Steelhead Brewing, also in Eugene, before opening Ninkasi with Nikos Ridge in 2006. Join me in wishing Jamie a very happy birthday.
Here’s an interesting look at the history of hops in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the second-largest growing area for hops in America. Although the production values remind me of an elementary school slideshow presentation, complete with monotone narrator, there’s a lot of good information nonetheless. Based on some of the information presented, I’d guess it was made in the pre-craft era before 1980, but when exactly is anybody’s guess. All told, the three parts of the documentary run a little less than 30 minutes. Thus endeth the lesson for today.
Here’s an interesting little item that speaks to the image that a brewery can, and often strives, to create. While small in and of itself, given the changes we’re seeing in brewery ownership and other business dealings, an important one. This is especially true in the wake of another prominent up and coming Oregon brewery that witnessed a pretty severe backlash for selling an interest in the company to Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) last year. And witness how the tribe reacted to the lawsuit that Lagunitas initiated for trademark infringement against Sierra Nevada, despite it being a perfectly reasonable and understandable business decision. What those recent incidents have taught us, if anything, is that perception often matters more in the eyes of customers than following traditional business practices. Apparently, this really isn’t your father’s brewing company, and woe be to any brewery that doesn’t at least follow its own heart, if not the perceived heart of its fanbase.
Ninkasi Brewing, of Eugene, Oregon, announced that they were ending their relationship with their large beer distributor, owned by ABI, and signing with two smaller, locally owned distributors to cover the same territory — “Eugene-based Bigfoot Beverage Distributors and Bellevue, Washington-based Odom Corp.” Apparently, the only reason Nnkasi was with ABI distributors in the first place was because of a buyout a few years ago of the beer distributors that originally sold their beer to the larger ABI-owned one.
According to a story in the Register-Guard, CEO and co-founder Nikos Ridge remarked that this “arrangement did not fit well with Ninkasi’s world view” and added. “We are committed to being an independent and locally owned craft brewery, and feel we will be better aligned long term with independent and locally owned wholesalers.”
It’s interesting that Ninkasi wants to stay true to their roots, even as they expand into other markets, preferring local distributors over potentially more efficient and possibly more effective ones. Even at the expense of their business, they chose what they perceive to be the better fit with their company ethos. That’s a lesson many other brewers will have to learn as they navigate the landscape of the modern age of beer. These things matter to a lot of people, even if they rarely even understand how to run a business, what are the intricacies of trademark law, or what’s involved in signing with a distributor. Perception is your street cred in this day and age, and that’s likely to only intensify as a growing number of breweries are vying for your attention, your loyalty and most importantly, your business.
Today is the 52nd birthday of Jamie Emmerson, one of the founders, and the original brewmaster, of Full Sail Brewing. Now the Executive Brewmaster, Jamie steers the ship of Full Sail along with his wife and co-founder Irene. Jamie is a terrific person and active promoter of craft beer and the local beer community everywhere, but especially in Oregon. Join me in wishing Jamie a very happy birthday.
Today is the 48th birthday of Jeff Alworth, blogger extraordinaire at Beervana. Despite annual trips to Portland, two years ago was the first time Jeff and I met, although we’d been corresponding with one another for many years. We sat down for a pint or three at one of my favorite Portland watering holes, Hair of the Dog. Jeff is one of the most thoughtful, engaging beer writers, and his new book, The Beer Bible should be published this spring. Join me in wishing Jeff a very happy birthday.