By Joseph Ditzler

The Bulletin

Crux Fermentation Project plans to start work later this month on expanding the interior of its SW Division Street brewpub, co-founder Larry Sidor said Wednesday.

Construction will add 2,800 square feet to the space for nearly 9,000 square feet total. The brewpub, in a former auto transmission repair shop, opened in June 2012.

It will remain open while the addition is built, with completion expected in four months.

Stemach Design + Architecture, of Bend, designed the addition. A building permit application by SunWest Builders, of Redmond, with which Sidor’s worked previously, indicates a project worth at least $600,000.

SunWest remodeled the transmission shop into the original Crux brewery and tasting room and fitted out the Crux production brewery on NE 18th Street.

The improvements will basically enclose the outdoor bar and patio on the building’s south side. The structure will incorporate six overhead, garage-style doors on the south- and west-facing walls, according to a floor plan on file with the city. The added space and reconfiguration will accommodate another 90 patrons for a total of 170, Sidor said. He said improved heating, ventilation and air conditioning are part of the plan.

“In the summer, it’ll essentially be what it is today. In winter, when it’s really cold, we’ll be able to shut those doors,” he said. “We want to be careful not to change the atmosphere with what we’re doing.”

The new addition will put another 1,410 square-feet of seating area under roof, according to the floor plan. Stacey Stemach, principal at Stemach Design, said the key design feature is nail-laminated timber, essentially 2-by-6 boards nailed together and used to create the roof structure. “It’s really, really strong and allows us to expose all of that (structure) from the inside. It should be a fantastic look,” Stemach said. “We’re really excited about that.”

The design creates an open-air feel that highlights the view of the Cascades to the west, he said. The brewpub entryway will be reconfigured to allow an organized reception area.

The firm incorporated into Crux an element it designed for Bend Brewing Co., Stemach said, namely a mid-level window counter-top. In this case, the windows are three, westward-facing overhead doors. Three other overhead doors that drop to the floor face south.

“We’re really excited to be involved,” Stemach said. “It’s a great opportunity, and the Crux team is real enthusiastic about our design. It’s a cool design.”

No substantial change is planned for the brewpub kitchen, Sidor said. The Crux business model has always emphasized its beer. Food, part of a responsible brewpub operation, is nonetheless secondary to enhancing the beer drinker’s experience, he said.

Three food carts will remain on the lawn outside the pub. Plans include re-purposing the lavatories and creating new men’s and women’s rooms, 382 square-feet total, on the building southeast corner.

Crux has more than enough parking, 52 spaces, according to city code, which calls for a minimum 20, Stemach wrote in the building plan.

Brewpub patrons sometimes hunt for parking space on SW Industrial Way. Sidor said popularity was not in the design when the brewpub opened nearly six years ago.

“We mistakenly thought when we filled out the old Aamco station that Bend was pretty much saturated with pubs and such,” he said. “We really weren’t expecting the level of customers that we’re getting.”

Sidor, who spends most his time at the Crux production brewery on the city’s north side, said he couldn’t say how many patrons visit the brewpub every year. Judging by the crowd that fills the pub’s south-side lawn, even on weekdays in warmer months, it’s a substantial number.

“It warms my heart,” Sidor said. “We built it with a true public-house concept. We really thought the market was more into the restaurant pub, but that’s not something we wanted to participate in. We value and promote the interaction between people. We have no TV. We love having children; we love having dogs.”

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

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