By Joseph Ditzler

The Bulletin

Crux Fermentation Project is expanding distribution of limited quantities of its beers to the East Coast and Canada, the company recently announced.

Bend-based Crux will ship select beer to British Columbia and Alberta provinces, Canada, in addition to Washington, D.C., New York City, Virginia, Vermont and Maine, said Jason Randles, company branding and marketing manager.

The Bend brewery is planning to ship its beer in kegs, 500-milliliter bottles and six-pack cans to the new markets. The distribution plan takes Crux, founded in Bend five years ago, beyond its basic footprint in Oregon, Washington and southern Idaho.

“We chose the markets we did because they are highly regarded, growing craft markets where there is demand for top quality craft beer,” he wrote Wednesday in an email. Each market will have a different mix of Crux products, he said by phone.

Truckloads of beer rolled out of the production brewery on NE 18th Street last week and this week, with the beer expected to hit shelves in mid-June, he said.

“It’s a small quantity, not a deep penetration,” he said. “We’re just looking for an outlet for craft beer drinkers to get a taste of Crux.”

Crux is working with four distributors to get its products into consumer hands, he said. The production brewery is busy.

“We’re cranking right now, but we need to be careful and take care of our home market,” Randles said.

Most of the marketing and advertising will take place through events such as a tap-takeover Thursday in Washington, D.C., featuring Oregon beers, and through social media and outreach to local media, he said.

Mark Ewald, a former Bend resident and the owner of VT Beer Shepherd, a Waterbury, Vermont, distributor said he’s been trying to bring Crux to the East Coast for five years.

“I pride myself on swimming upstream,” he said Thursday. “Even though it’s not the easiest thing to convince people that Oregon beer is as good as Vermont’s, we found a nice foothold in Vermont.”

Ewald said he distributes another Bend beer, Boneyard, and is working on agreements with the Silver Moon and Sunriver breweries, based in Bend and Sunriver, to bring them to Vermont and Maine, too.

Crux is available in small quantities in Boston, California and Colorado, Randles said. In 2016, the brewery produced nearly 6,000 taxable barrels of beer for sale in Oregon, making it the 23rd-largest brewery in the state, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

Deschutes Brewery, which is planning a second production brewery in Roanoke, Virginia, also recently announced an agreement to distribute its beer in North Carolina.

Deschutes is available in 28 states, including in the East and Midwest, in the District of Columbia and in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.

The brewery is working with seven distributors and will send four beers to North Carolina for draft sales starting in June, according to a company news release. Packaged beer will be available there in August. Deschutes in April announced plans for a tasting room in Roanoke.

Deschutes, the largest brewery in Oregon last year at 83,000 taxable barrels sold in-state, in March 2016 announced plans to build an $85 million brewery in Roanoke, with production to start in 2021. At home, the brewery expanded with six new fermentation vessels, a racking line and pilot brew system, office space and a warehouse.

— Reporter: 541-617-7815,