Deschutes Brewery Expands to Roanoke

deschutes brewery

Gary Fish may have thought that waiting through the process and the choosing of a new spot for Deschutes Brewery’s east coast location took a while. Now, the long wait really begins.

The Bend, Oregon-based brewery has chosen Roanoke, Virginia as the spot of what it is calling “Brew 4,” slated to break ground in 2019 and be serving beer by 2021.

“It’s really exciting and everyone has energy right now, but things will go quiet for a while as we begin the process of executing the project,” Fish, the company’s founder and CEO, told Brewer Magazine after the announcement made on March 22 in Roanoke.

That includes a huge amount of designing and engineering for the $85 million project.

“We have to make sure our balance sheet is set for this substantial undertaking,” Fish said. “We are working on all of those things and we feel good about the timeline we set.”

The brewery, which was founded in 1988 by Fish, has explored hundreds of potential locations in the region over the last few years. Fish said the first time he talked with Roanoke officials was in 2012.

“Brew 4” is the name because the original Bend public house is called “Brew 1”, the brewery’s production facility in Bend is “Brew 2” and the Portland, Oregon public house is “Brew 3.”

deschutes brewery

Brew 4 will be located at the eastern edge of Roanoke. Eventually, 108 new jobs will be created for the region, and the new brewery will produce approximately 150,000 barrels to start, with a design to increase capacity as needed.

“Roanoke is honored to be chosen as Deschutes Brewery’s East Coast location after a very thorough review of several communities in the Southeast,” said Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill in a prepared statement. “It is a company with a strong culture of community engagement, recognized for its craftsmanship and will be a perfect fit for Roanoke’s vibrant outdoor lifestyle.  We are thrilled to welcome Deschutes as we continue to build a diverse, resilient economy.”

Fish said the $85 million will come the same way that it has raised fund in the past for previous expansions: cash flow and bank financing.

The company selected Roanoke based on several criteria including a culture and community that fit well with Deschutes.

“If you spend any time here. the people are terrific, they are thirsty and it’s a very involved community with a lot of opportunity here,” Fish said. “The people have been so warm and welcoming that we are excited to call Roanoke our east coast home.”

Roanoke is home to a few craft breweries, including Big Lick Brewing and Soaring Ridge Brewing along with nearby Salem’s Parkway Brewing. Fish pointed out that a few members from the local breweries were on hand to welcome the Deschutes team.

“I think we are trying to make sure that we remember we are integrating into their community, not the other way around,” Fish said. “We are very interested in whatever we can do to become a part of that community.”

The brewery plans to have statewide distribution by the end of the year. Currently some flagships and seasons are available along with some bombers. The brewery is available in 28 states and Washington DC with plans to expand on the east coast before breaking ground for the new facility.

“We want to continue to grow and we know that there are a lot of people interested in having access to our beer,” Fish said. “If that’s the case it doesn’t make sense to brew it all in Bend and ship it. For us it means maintaining control of the product and be able to make beer closer to the people that will be drinking it.”

This ends speculation of where the brewery would end up as multiple places in the southeast had hopes of landing the brewery.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Roanoke and the Roanoke Regional Partnership to secure the project for Virginia. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe approved a $3 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Roanoke with the project. The company is eligible to receive funding from the Economic Development Access Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation, as well as state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The company will also be eligible to receive up to a $250,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID), administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, depending on its procurement and use of Virginia grown products in its operations. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

“Virginia’s competitive bid for Deschutes Brewery’s coveted East Coast location was tireless and aggressive, and we are gratified that the company has chosen the City of Roanoke for this major operation,” McAuliffe said in a prepared statement. “This is another high-profile win that shines a spotlight on the Commonwealth and reinforces that we are a leading state in the craft beer industry. We are working to diversify and build a new Virginia economy, and I commend the teamwork involved in this great success. We are thrilled to welcome Deschutes Brewery to the Commonwealth.”


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