Dear Deschutes Brewing,

I've just read that you will be opening a brewery in the Pearl, here in the beer capital of the world. Too many breweries? Never! I say welcome!

A mug from the 2007 Bend Brewfest, a stone's throw from the massive Deschutes brewing operation on the river.

Bend Brewfest 2007

We Portlander's love beer, and because we have so many great breweries in town, we can be quite snobbish. So what? We have high standards. While that might make us outcasts at some parties, it's good for the industry, driving it to make better and better beer.

But with Deschutes, it's not the beer I'm worried about. I stop by on every trip to Bend and the quantity and quality of your beer is always amazing. Hell, even your bottled beer has remained true to your customers, not wavering the least in the face of commercial watered down swill. What I'm really worried about is your potential social cave in by moving to Portland and forgetting who your real supporters are.

Let's walk through an example with a fictional brewery, let's, uh, call them PortBridge. Let's say that they used to have a great place: long community benches, great pizza, and great character and atmosphere. Stumbling into this place, in the midst of a sea of abandoned buildings, would be surprisingly cozy and always a stop when guests were in town. Then, let's say, they closed down for about 11 months for remodelling. Everyone would be waiting, wondering how much awesomeness they could pack into the new design. It turns out, they could only fit zero awesomeness.

Let's imagine, that the new version of this fictional place turned it's back on it's long time supporters and decided to cater to a different crowd. Yeah, the beer was the same, but everything else changed, for the worse. It used to be cozy, now it's uncomfortable. It's now a restaurant/bakery/coffee place that happens to have a brewery. Hypothetically, of course. And, hypothetically, I'd never go back.

Now, in this theoretical world, there are market forces at play. I understand that brewing is a hard market and it's tough to stay alive, but the place where you brew and got your start should be reflective of the people that got you there. Go ahead, open up this type of place as a satellite in Seattle or somewhere, but not here. Don't piss where you play, isn't that it?

Anyway, the point is, we already love your beer. If you brew it, we will come. Unless, that is, you stray too far from the beer side of things. Keep this in mind: your place should reflect that you happen to have a restaurant in your brewery, not a brewery in your restaurant. Yeah, it's a subtle distinction, but it's a distinction that Portlander's will make.

Sincerly,
Brett