Crux Fermentation Project co-founder Paul Evers is ending his active association next week with the 4½-year-old brewing company in Bend.

Evers, 55, is leaving the brewery’s day-to-day operation Dec. 23, stepping down as president and no longer providing creative services to the company, he said. Instead, he’s starting from scratch a branding and marketing firm, Crunchy Peanut Butter LLC, with his son, Bobby Evers, 27.

“The team at Crux is phenomenally great to work with,” Paul Evers said Thursday. “I will miss working with these people on a day-to-day basis. … It’s a team driven by passion and perfection. I’m going to miss that. Bobby’s going to miss that.”

Paul Evers, along with partners Larry Sidor, a former brewmaster at Deschutes Brewery, and Dave Wilson, at the time vice president of sales for 21st Amendment Brewery, of San Francisco, opened Crux Fermentation Project in June 2012 in a former transmission repair shop on SW Division Street.

Today, the company employs 60 people and is on track to brew about 17,000 barrels of beer next year, Evers said.

“We’re still small and we’re still focused on quality, and we do a broad range of beers, from a great craft Pilsner to complex, barrel-aged beers,” he said. “It’s a very small base we’re working with, but we’ve doubled production every year since we opened.”

Crux sold almost 4,200 taxable barrels of beer in Oregon alone last year, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. It had already sold more than that by September this year.

Paul Evers will remain on the Crux board of directors and retains an ownership stake.

The new venture in advertising takes up where Evers and his son left off at tbd, the agency where Paul Evers was a partner until the firm announced its closing in October 2014 after 18 years in business.

At tbd, Evers and Sidor worked on branding and packaging for Deschutes Brewery and, according to Evers, also discovered their common dream of opening a craft brewery. 21st Amendment, where Wilson worked, was another tbd client. Wilson left Crux in March 2014 and became president of 21st Amendment.

Creating a craft brewery like Crux today would be difficult, Evers said. The playing field is crowded and more competitive, with increasing pressure to stand apart, he said.

“The challenge is to be inviting and exciting,” he said. “I think we’re up to 5,000 craft breweries throughout the U.S., I’m not a numbers guy, but five years ago it was a completely different story.”

Crux in 2015 expanded its production from the original, 8.5-barrel brewing system at the Division Street brewpub to a 17-barrel system in a 20,000-square-foot building on NE 18th Street. In addition to Oregon, its beers are found in Washington, the Bay Area of California, Denver and Boise, Idaho. The brewery recently launched two new beers and in 2017 is introducing popular brands like Cast Out IPA in six-pack cans.

Sidor brought four decades of brewing experience to the project, and Evers brought expertise in branding, said Jon Abernathy, author of “Bend Beer: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon” and a beer columnist for The Bulletin.

Evers announced his departure from the corner office in a letter to employees in October. Sidor continues as CEO.

“A lot of what Crux is today is Paul’s vision in design and marketing,” Abernathy said. “He definitely brought a unique angle to it, something you don’t see in a start-up brewery.”

The Evers’ new venture, Crunchy Peanut Butter, is headquartered in Bobby Evers’ old bedroom at the family home, Paul Evers said. The father’s 30 years in branding fits well with his “digital-native millennial” son’s creative bent. “There are challenges, but there’s a positive, working relationship, a friendship and a father-son relationship,” Paul Evers said.

Bobby Evers graduated with a degree in graphic design from Chapman University, in Orange, California. He also worked at tbd and Crux. He said the move away from Crux may be good for his father’s creative vision.

“Seriously, I’m excited to see him doing more for the creative-process side,” Bobby Evers said, “and really doing what he’s meant to do rather than being El Presidente.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7815, jditzler@bendbulletin.com

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