What: Bend Brewing Co.

Pictured: Packy Deenihan, president and co-owner

Employees: 40 to 75, depending on season

Website: https://www.bendbrewingco.com/

Bend’s second-oldest brewery, Bend Brewing Co., is done with expansion and now laser-focused on perfecting what it does best: tinkering with the beer, adjusting the menu at its brewpub and looking for new ways to distribute its more than 40 different beers.

Call it a breather, a rest after the three heady years of expanding, said Packy Deenihan who co-owns the brewery with his father, Ed Deenihan.

In 2016 the Deenihans purchased the brewery from Wendi Day, who sold her then 20-year-old family business. After the Deenihans took over they went on an expansion binge, purchasing the lot next door and building a brewpub at the brewery on NW Brooks Street in downtown Bend. They’ve added outdoor seating, a fire pit and added a second brewing facility off Empire Boulevard. The downtown location is a seven-barrel system, and the second facility is a 15-barrel brewing system, Deenihan said.

“We love Bend, and I wanted to find a way to get back here,” said Deenihan, 32. “We love the mountains. We feel so fortunate that Wendi Day was willing to pass along the storied tradition of Bend Brewing Co.”

Deenihan talked with The Bulletin about the business.

Q: Why did you go into the beer brewing business?

A: I had been working with a company in Denver that moved us to San Francisco, but we always wanted to figure out how to make ends meet in Bend. In 2008, I owned a small food-cart business, which I sold a year later, and moved to Denver. My dad had retired from his career, and we started looking for a business for sale in Bend. We were not looking for anything industry-specific. We had run into owners of Silver Moon Brewing, and they piqued our interest of breweries for sale in Bend.

Q: What’s been your big accomplishment so far?

A: We made a mark by becoming more relevant in the beer scene with the addition of the brewpub experience that we now have. The setting of Bend Brewing Co., with the outdoor setting, is as good as it gets in the beer scene. When the sun’s out, sitting on the grass with Mirror Pond in the background, you can’t beat it. That in itself is making a mark in the beer scene. Secondly, we’ve made significant strides in the past nine months for packaging. Extending our brand to people’s homes, camping or wherever they are. We started canning for the first time in June. We can 16-ounce cans and sell kegs as well.

Q: How do you stay atop the craft beer industry?

A: One thing you don’t want to do in the craft beer industry is to stay stagnant. Our brewers are always playing around with different ingredients to come out with something new and intriguing. It’s a balance of having a core set of beers that are tried and true, but also being creative and pushing the envelope of what you’re putting in the market. It’s important to have that balance between seasonal offerings and those core brands.

Q: What has been challenging since you took over?

A: There are two parts to the business. One part of the business is having customers come down and enjoy the brewpub. The other part is the distribution. In both areas there’s tremendous competition. We’re continually looking at how we can improve. We work at improving service and the food, which has to be great. The beer is obviously something we’re laser-focused on. We won four awards at the Oregon Beer awards on Feb. 26. For Alpha Blonde, Trade War Export Stout, Coffee N Cream and Stump Thumpin’ Coffee Brown.

Q: What advice would you give to a new brewer?

A: I would tell you to focus on your brewpub and create a space that customers really want to come down to and feel comfortable in. The distribution world is so cutthroat, that if that’s your entire business model, you have to have substantial scale.

— Reporter: 541-633-2117, sroig@bendbulletin.com

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