We’re proud of our roots, and inspired by our local industry. Our roots happen to be connected to hops, that grow in vast variety here, making flavorful and unique beers. After touring our local Deschutes Brewery, we were amazed at the subtle differences in flavor from these hops. The story of the hops is an interesting one, and one of the reasons that Oregon is second largest hop-growing state in the US.
Oregon’s brewing industry dates back to 1852, when thirsty immigrants began settling into the Oregon Territory. A German brewer named Henry Saxter was inspired by the hop growing potential of this region after tasting Oregon’s soft mountain water. He opened Oregon’s first brewery, Liberty Brewery.
in 1856, German immigrant Henry Weinhard entered the picture, creating a German-style brew that shaped Portland’s beer culture. Weinhard became a historical celebrity after his 1888 request to send beer though Portland fire hoses during the dedication of Skidmore Fountain. City officials feared thirsty bystanders would puncture the valuable hoses to sneak a drink, but this made Weinhard beer a local staple until Oregon Prohibition Law of 1914. Weinhard City Brewery survived the next nineteen years of Prohabilition on syrups and sodas and in 1933 merged with Portland Brewing Company and became Blitz-Weinhard Brewery–Oregon’s most well-known beer until 1999.
Other notable breweries began appearing on the Portland scene in the 80’s and 90’s following legislation that made brew pubs legal in Oregon, including: Cartwright’s (Oregon’s first craft brewery), McMenamins (Oregon’s first brew pub), Full Sail (Oregon’s first craft bottling company), and Widmer Brewing Company.
Oregon’s beer-friendly laws and environmental wherewithal has made it an industry leader, boasting 81 breweries and the most craft breweries per capita in the US. Oregon’s largest brewer, Deschutes Brewery, is located a few miles from Ruff Wear’s Headquarters in Bend, Oregon. Deschutes’s approach to sustainability and respect for the environment is transparent–from the reuse of spent grain for animal feed (which is later made into hamburgers for their pub), to the Central Oregon hiking trails and landmarks for which their beer is named.
We applaud those that embrace their cultural and environmental surroundings. We are proud of and celebrate our local industry, and hope you support yours too.