The demise of North Rim Brewing Co. in January spelled opportunity for two other Bend-based brewing companies.
Kobold Brewing LLC founder Steve Anderson bought a 15-barrel brewing system from North Rim, formerly located in a light-industrial building on NE High Desert Lane. Bend Brewing Co. owner Packy Deenihan purchased the three, 30-barrel North Rim fermentation tanks and also leased its space on High Desert Lane, he said. Deenihan has been searching for a place, with appropriate plumbing and other installations, in which to locate a production brewery and answer demand for the company’s beer.
“Really, the primary reason is to supply our own pub with more beer,” he said Wednesday. “We came dangerously close to running out last year.”
In that former North Rim space, Deenihan is installing a 15-barrel brewing system he purchased from Sunriver Brewing Co., which recently upgraded its system.
Messages left with North Rim owner Bruce Stevens were not returned Wednesday. He assumed control of the business in 2015 from his business partner and co-founder, Shane Neilsen.
Anderson started Kobold Brewing three years ago with a 2-barrel system in a converted garage behind his west-side Bend home. He plans to move the former North Rim equipment to an industrial park in east Redmond and a 2,100-square-foot space formerly occupied by a small brewing system that belonged to Smith Rock Brewing Co.
“This is a space they had never used,” Anderson said Wednesday. “It’s built out and almost done as a brewery.”
Kobold last year produced 85 taxable barrels of beer, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. He expects to have the added capacity available by summer.
Anderson, who bought a former gift shop on SW Sixth Street in Redmond and turned it into a taproom last year, said business has been good. He plans to keep the 2-barrel system he started with for small-batch brewing. He’s also planning to put his barrel-aged series, Lawful Evil, in 500 milliliter bottles soon, he said. He estimated the cost of expansion at $350,000.
“The beer’s been received well, and the taphouse is doing great,” Anderson said.
Deenihan declined to say what the expansion project would cost Bend Brewing Co. With the new equipment, the company can produce another 2,000 barrels of beer annually, he said. Last year, the brewery produced almost 1,000 taxable barrels of beer, according to the OLCC.
He’s also planning to work with a mobile canning company to put three Bend Brewing Co. products in cans in early summer: Tropic Pines, a “juicy IPA”; Exploregon, a “hoppy lager”; and Bend Light, a craft ale, he said.
Bend Brewing Co. will continue to produce beer at its original NW Books Street brewpub, Deenihan said. He said he’s also talking to a Portland-area distributor about shipping some of the company output to the city. Anderson, too, is looking at future distribution, he said.
“By the time we get this thing running fully,” Anderson said, “yes.”