I was in Eugene last night to pick up the new dray wagon that's replacing Green Jeep (deceased) and managed to get in some walking and pub crawling. My boots directed me at one point to Cornucopia on 17th and Lincoln for to see what was on the beer list. Over a pint of Lagunitas Saison (alas cold and fizzy, but satisfying) I encountered a copy of a Northwest brewpub guide sitting in a mini stack of books at the back "bar". I just had to thumb through the whole thing, since it was published in 1996. That's 14 years ago! I was struck by how much had changed. Many of the listed breweries no longer existed. Eugene at that point had six; only two of those listed survived. The Southern Oregon Coast had three, and now they are no more. The North Fork Brewing Company up near wee little Deming, Washington was listed as up-and-coming, and it's not only open but thriving in an unlikely location.
Now I really want to know why. What are the stories behind these ventures? What might I be able to learn that could help our little pub to survive? Having made it over two years in an "economic downturn", I'm much more aware of the number of things that can go wrong. Cash Flow. Taxes. Penalties. Staffing. Broken equipment. Stress. Long hours. It's a fragile business. These days the Internet, while useful in some ways, can be poison. A single bad comment or review will travel around the world before a good comment even gets its britches on. Nevertheless, a measured amount of determination and hard work will continue to be employed here. We have a nice little pub in a beautiful location. We have SPAM on the menu. We have proper pints of real ale. What could go wrong?
A new batch of porter will likely hit the pumps this weekend, and Tanninbomb is in FV1. See you at the pub.