Beer Birthday: Teri Fahrendorf

pink-boots-society
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.

gabf06-thu-09
Teri behind the Steelhead Brewing booth at GABF in 2006.

cbc08-06
Ken Allen, former owner of Anderson Valley Brewing, and Teri at CBC in San Diego 2006.

gabf06-awards-09
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.

gabf07-35
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.

Beer Birthday: Jamie Floyd

Ninkasi-white
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.

P1030025
Jamie at Magnolia for SF Beer Week in 2011.

obf06-04
At the Oregon Brewers Festival in 2006.

saquatch-fest07-4
Jamie, with John Maier, from Rogue Brewing, and Nikos Ridge, also from Ninkasi, at the Sasquatch Brew Fest in 2007.

Jamie Floyd, from Ninkasi Brewing
Jamie at GABF in 2011.

Justin Crossley (Brewing Network) & Jamie Floyd (Ninkasi)
Justin Crossley, of the Brewing Network, with Jamie at the Opening Gala for the 2010 SF Beer Week.

A History Of Hops In The Willamette Valley

hop-leaf
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.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

willamette-valley-hops
Willamette Valley Hops

Ninkasi Drops Big One, Signs With Smaller Distributors

Ninkasi-white
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.

DSCN0947
The Ninkasi brewery during a quick visit to Eugene last summer.

Beer Birthday: Jamie Emmerson

full-sail-blue-circle
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.

Jamie Emmerson & Art Larrance
Jamie with Art Larrance at the OBF Parade in 2009.

P1000071
Barney Brennan, me Jamie and Irene Fermat at SAVOR in Washington, DC a few years ago.

obf08-15
With the ceremonial hammer at the opening of OBF in 2008.

Beer Birthday: Jeff Alworth

beervana
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.

DSCN2375
Jeff and Alan Sprints at Hair of the Dog Brewery.

jeff-alworth-and-harris
Jeff and John Harris at Don Younger’s wake (photo by Lisa Morrison).

Beer Birthday: Kurt Widmer

widmer
Today is Kurt Widmer’s 63rd birthday. Kurt is, of course, one of the bros in Widmer Brothers. He and his brother Rob helped found the Oregon Brewers Festival, created the style American Hefeweizen and are one of the few small brewers that have managed to retain their spirit and reputation as they’ve grown much larger. Join me in wishing Kurt a very happy birthday.

widmers
Kurt (at left) and Rob Widmer with their wives at the Oregon Brewers Festival several years ago.

widmer-bros
Kurt and Rob after their win for Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year at GABF in 2002.

IMG_4085
Gary Fish, Kurt and beer writer Fred Eckhardt at Don Younger’s memorial (photo by Tom Dalldorf).

obf07-15
Rob and Kurt Widmer accepting the gavel in July 2007 from Jack Joyce and John Maier from Rogue, for 2008 when that next year they hosted OBF.

Beer Birthday: Jack Joyce

rogue
The original rogue, Jack Joyce, who founded Oregon Brewing — better known today as Rogue — would have celebrated his 72nd birthday today. Sadly, he passed away earlier this year, in late May. Join me in drinking a toast to Jack’s memory today.

obf06-01
Jack (on right) at the Oregon Brewers Festival with Fred Bowman, co-founder of Portland Brewing and Tom Dalldorf, Celebrator publisher.

obf07-03
At the OBF Parade in 2007, Jack Joyce with festival organizer Chris Crabb await the arrival of the mayor.

brett-and-jack-joyce
Brett and Jack Joyce from an interview by World Class Beverages in 2010.

jack-joyce
One of the best photos of Jack I’ve seen. This was taken by Leah Nash for a New York Times article entitled Food and Fuel Compete for Land.

Beer Birthday: Christian DeBenedetti

wolves-people
Today is the 41st birthday of fellow beer writer and aspiring brewery owner Christian DeBenedetti. In 2011, he wrote The Great American Ale Trail and you can check out a lot of his other work online. His latest project is building a brewery on his family’s property, Springbrook Farm, to be called the Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery. In fact, through CrowdBrewed, the dedicated beer crowd funding site, he’s in the process of raising funds to finish building the brewery, the majority of which is already in place. He’s getting close to reaching the necessary amount, around 80% there, with just one day to go. So perhaps everyone can give Christian an early birthday gift today so he can get the brewery finished and the beer flowing. There are all sorts of levels for donations and you can read all about the project and what the funds will be used for at CrowdBrewed. Join me in wishing Christian a very happy birthday.

DSCN3592
Christian with Stephen Beaumont at the Denver Rare Beer Tasting in 2013.

DeBenedetti-6
With Vinnie Cilurzo in the barrel room during a visit to Russian River Brewing.

DeBenedetti-4
With Charlie Papazian at GABF.

DeBenedetti-7
With Jim Koch at Ale House at Amato’s for the book release party for the Great American Ale Trail, during GABF in 2011.

DeBenedetti-10
In front of the brewhouse at Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery, his brewery under construction.

Beer Birthday: Darron Welch

pelican-pub
Today is the 47th birthday of Darron Welch, brewmaster at Pelican Pub & Brewery in Pacific City, Oregon. Darron has something like a gazillion awards for his beers, including “Brewer of the Year” four times (at GABF in 2000 and 2005 for small brewpub and in 2006 for large brewpub; and at the World Beer Cup in 2008 for large brewpub). In addition to being a great brewer, Darron is also a terrific person, as well. Join me in wishing him a very happy birthday.

pelican-din-4
At a beer dinner at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in San Francisco several Januarys back, Pelican Pub brewmaster Darron Welch with the Beer Chef Bruce Paton.

gabf06-awards-10
Darron and the gang (including Ben Love at far left) from Pelican Pub & Brewery winning Gold for their Kiwanda Cream Ale at GABF in 2006.

Darron Welch (2nd from Left) with the Pelican Brewpub Team
Darron, again with the Peilcan Crew, this time at GABF in 2009.