Juniper Brewing Co. has brewed its last batch of beer.
The owners of the small Redmond brewery are disposing of their equipment and selling what beer remains in the taproom.
“When that sells out, we’re done,” co-owner Curtis Endicott said.
He said the demands of full-time jobs did not pair well with running the brewery and taproom, which demanded as many as 60 hours a week during busy times. Endicott works as database maintainer for Jeld-Wen, the window manufacturer in Bend, and Juniper co-founder Scott Lesmeister is a warehouse manager for a plumbing wholesaler, Endicott said.
“There’s not enough time or money,” Endicott said. “We couldn’t quite get free from our day jobs to make this a full-time priority.”
Endicott and Lesmeister were homebrewers when they opened Juniper Brewing on SW 19th Street, adjacent to the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, in March 2014. Juniper’s 2-barrel brewing system turned out 24 different beers over the last three years, Endicott said, but it developed four mainstays: Tap Root Red, Old Roy IPA, Jolly Black and Kesseler Kolsch.
“I don’t have any regrets about opening it up and trying it out for three years,” he said.
“It was a fun ride, but reality sets in, and we can’t keep doing what we’re doing.”
One who will miss Juniper Brewing is Leda Mudge, co-owner, with her husband, Greg Mudge, of Hub City Bar & Grill on U.S. Highway 97 in Redmond. She said she’s down to about 30 pints of Jolly Black ale at the bar.
“I don’t know if I can get any more,” she said Friday.
The Mudges have known Endicott for more than 20 years, Leda Mudge said, and they opened Hub City the same month that Juniper Brewing came into being. A proliferation of breweries, brewpubs, taprooms and taverns opening up in Central Oregon around 2014 created a competitive and challenging business environment, especially in Redmond, she said.
“I’ve never seen so many businesses opening at the same time,” Mudge said.
Juniper’s owners had an outstanding product and excellent customer service, too, she said. “I could blow my keg at 9 or 10 at night and call (Endicott’s) personal cell number, and he’d be there within an hour or half-hour,” Mudge said. “We never had that kind of service from the other local breweries, ever.”
Juniper Brewing last year sold 70.5 taxable barrels of beer in Oregon, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission beer reports. Although not the smallest of 27 breweries in Central Oregon, it ranked 220th out of 248 Oregon breweries in 2016 by amount of beer sold, according to the OLCC.
Endicott said most of what Juniper produced was sold locally, with some sales in the Willamette Valley. In addition to Hub City, beer by Juniper Brewing is available at Olive Garden in Bend, which bought the last kegs of Old Roy and Tap Root, and at One Street Down Cafe on SW Seventh Street in Redmond, he said. Endicott said he’ll open the taproom by appointment for anyone who wants a growler fill from the last of the six beers on tap.
“I’d love to stick around in the brewing industry. It’s a big family, and a lot of really good people are involved in it,” Endicott said. “I would like to say ‘thank you’ to our many customers over the years for their support.”
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