Deschutes Brewery

By Gary Fish, Owner

Deschutes Brewery was founded in June of 1988. My background was in the restaurant business, and our original business plan was for a brewpub, and only a brewpub. My father had been involved in the California wine industry as a grower during its modern Renaissance period of the late 60’s and early 70’s. After planting and nurturing vineyards and seeing the long return on investment, he was attracted by the ROI a brewpub represented.

My wife, Carol, and I were living in Salt Lake City. Both my parents were born in Oregon and during one of their trips back for a college reunion, they came through Bend. After hearing their comments, we took one trip to Bend and were hooked. And so, our adventure began.

Our approach to making beer has always been the same. Let the ingredients and the terroir come through. We aim to keep it simple, and that means good! The quality and flavor of the beer always comes first. We never quibble about ingredient costs, and we never lament dumping the odd batch that didn’t go well. We also believe in balance. As with fine wine, if the flavor profile is dominated by any one characteristic, the taste becomes linear and uninteresting. All the flavors should work together so you have to really dig to identify specific attributes. When flavors work together like that, they create experiences where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

We were craft brewers before the term had a meaning. We were proud of the beer we made and the ways we made it. We believed these things had meaning. We used whole hops, bottled conditioned and used longer conditioning times. Our pub served only unfiltered beer and it was (and is) beautiful.

All along the way, our business has been about our community; the community inside the brewery and the one outside as well. Traditionally communities were centered around the tavern and the tavern had a brewery. This is where the community gathered, where meetings were held and where people celebrated together. Deschutes Brewery was founded on this principle and we adhere to it today. In fact, our mission statement includes the words, “share the Deschutes Brewery experience while building a healthier society.” Additionally, one of our core values is “share our success with the community.” We do this in countless ways, year in and year out. Our main fundraiser, the Sagebrush Classic, has raised over two million dollars for local charities.

Our business has always been about the craft of making beer, the art as well as the science. Everyone must work hard at something most of their lives. I cannot imagine anything I would rather work hard at than being a craft brewer.

For more information, visit Deschutes Brewery.