By Joseph Ditzler

The Bulletin

Albuquerque, New Mexico, has one. So does Boston. Portland has at least two.

And if plans work out for a family-backed startup, Bend will have a brew-it-yourself brewery, and a brewpub, too.

A banner hanging from the Old Mill Marketplace on SW Industrial Way proclaims a space inside the building will one day become Immersion Brewing.

“Immerse yourself,” said Sean Lampe, one of three partners in the venture, “a name that really (lets) people know that they’ll be involved in the brewing process.”

Immersion Brewing LLC has leased 7,300 square feet, a space now showing its structural bones but one where the partners envision a brewpub, brewery and space where customers may brew 5 gallons of nearly any sort of beer, including their own recipes, Lampe said.

His partners are his fiancee, Amanda Plattner, and Plattner’s sister, Rachael Plattner. The Plattners’ parents, Jake and Jeanne Plattner, are pitching in with financial backing and expect to play a role in the brewery, as well, Rachael Plattner said.

The partners plan a Kickstarter campaign starting Aug. 14 to raise money for a fifth copper-clad serving tank from which to tap beer for the brewpub bar. The target is $20,000, said Rachael Plattner, a graphic designer who handles marketing for the brewery. She said she expects the crowdfunding campaign to last two months. Those who contribute to the project will receive Immersion gear or an opportunity to brew their own supply of beer, she said.

“Our family has always talked about starting our own business,” Plattner said, “and when Sean came aboard, he had a great idea for a brew-it-yourself brewery.”

Lampe worked as assistant brewer for Walnut Brewery, in Boulder, Colorado, where he earned compliments for his work, said Walnut’s general manager, Ray Wilmitti. Lampe became a home brewer afterward, and although he expects Immersion to produce many varieties of beer, his tastes run to Belgian ales. The search for a brewmaster yielded candidates from around the country; Lampe said Tuesday he expects to name a brewmaster within a week.

“We have the capacity to make any style of beer, and we want our head brewer to put his fingerprint on all of our beers,” Lampe said.

The brewery and brewpub will employ about 11 people, he said. The partners are waiting on building permits from the city of Bend before work begins. SunWest Builders, of Redmond, applied in April for a permit for $525,000 worth of remodeling at the site. The partners are shooting for an opening day before the year is out.

While brewing your own beer sounds complicated and messy, Lampe and Plattner said the business model aims to take the fuss out of the experience. Customers will spend about two busy hours brewing beer under a brewery employee’s supervision, then leave the nearly finished product to ferment for two weeks before returning to bottle their creations, they said.

If clients want to rent the pub for special events, the brewery will create special labels for bottles or serve the finished product in a keg, Plattner said.

“The process itself is not that complicated,” Lampe said. “I guess it is overcoming people’s perceptions that brewing is some kind of mystic art form.”

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

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