Chad Kennedy Talks Worthy Brewing

by Spence on November 29, 2011

in In The Brewhouse

Lately Bend Oregon Beers readers have been posting questions to us on our contact form, asking if we had any new information on the upcoming East-side brewery, Worthy. At the time we did not, so I reached out to Chad Kennedy to get some fresh information about their business and site plans.

Who is involved?
Roger WorthingtonRoger Worthington

  • Profession: attorney who specializes in representing workers poisoned by asbestos
  • Co-founder of Indie Hops, whose mission is to “build the necessary infrastructure in the Willamette Valley, partner with leading farmers in the valley, invest in hops research and breeding in the valley, and gear all of this toward servicing the craft beer market from America’s premium aroma hops terroir- Oregon’s Willamette Valley.” – indiehops.com
  • Part-time resident of Oregon and avid cyclist who has been a long-time sponsor of the Cascade Cycling Classic, and has won the masters division three times between 1995 and 2008

Chad KennedyChad Kennedy

  • Former Brewmaster for the Laurelwood brewpubs in Portland, OR
  • Current Oregon Brewers Guild board Vice President
  • Likes the outdoors with an emphasis on fly fishing, and has been driving out to the region to do so for years
  • Is excited that the trip to his favorite fishing hole is significantly shorter

The first major hurdle
The land where the team is planning to build is a 2.83 acre parcel on the North side of U.S. Hwy 20 and just East of 27th that Worthington bought some time ago as a general investment.  When he and Chad began looking at the site as a potential location for their brewery, they knew that it was zoned as Residential Urban High Density which could prevent the team from using the location for a brewery unless they were able to convince the City Council to rezone.  They began working with local architects, builders, and consultants to create a site plan that would be part of their request to rezone the land as Mixed Employment. On November 16th, Chad announced that a City Council hearing had taken place and the request to rezone was granted. This watershed event allowed them to begin moving forward with their building plans.

Site plan details
Worthy Building SiteTheir site plans include the brewery, company offices, tasting room, seasonal outdoor beer garden, greenhouse, and approximately 7,000 sq ft for a hops garden. You may have heard talk about a concept of a “Beer University” being tied to the brewery’s plans, and Chad spoke a bit about the concept. The team is essentially looking to establish agreements with Oregon State University to work with their agricultural, master gardener, and brewing club programs to use the Beer Garden, Hops Garden and Greenhouse as “classrooms” for their students. An interesting concept, and one that could benefit all organizations involved. Chad said that while a restaurant is possible down the line, they will open with a tasting room to showcase the beer.

The plans for the brewery space take up about 22,000 square feet of the land. The brewing systems will be both a 2 Barrel (4 kegs) pilot system and a 30 Barrel main system.  The main system may come from the same manufacturer as GoodLife’s brewing system which could be beneficial for equipment problem solving.

The beer
The beer generated by the brewery will be packaged in cans. I love this move, and I believe they have the right idea for this region. Cans are the packaging solution for the outdoors, and are simply superior to glass when it comes to protecting the product from light, oxygen, and vessel breakage. Kennedy said that they were looking to move upwards of 80% of their product outside the area, and hope to be brewing by January 2013.

Initially, he’s thinking they will focus on four “primary brands”, and is working out what those will be.  Our conversations about that revolved around IPA, Pale, Lager (yes please), and maybe even a Bavarian Hefe.  Then there will be the other “secondary brands” that aren’t as set in stone, and allows the brewery to experiment.  Sounds great to me.

I’m really excited for another Eastside brewery, and can’t wait for the next edition to the Bend brewing scene. Welcome Worthy!

Cheers!

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