By Hannah Everman, EDN
It’s early morning and there’s a smell of a freshly brewed batch of beer that wafts through the open air outside of the Oakshire Brewing Company. A few men stock the white vans and hop in the drivers’ seats, pulling out of the driveway of their brewing facility at 1055 Madera St., in Eugene. This year, the Oakshire Brewing Company is expanding their facilities to 225 Madison St. in the Whiteaker neighborhood. Jeff Althouse, the co-founder of Oakshire, says,
“We’re not moving the brewery there. That’s the misconception that’s come out. Our brewing facility will stay here at Madera.”
Instead of a new brew facility, the new location will have a “public house,” warehouses, a cooler for their self-distribution operation, and expanded office space. Althouse states,
“The exciting thing is the public house. We’ll have space for people to come and enjoy our beers. It’ll be more of a pub atmosphere than a tasting room.”
The expansion is approximately a $1.5 million project. With $500,000 going into purchasing the property at Madison St., another $500,000 in equipment upgrades for the Madera facility, and the last $500,000 will go to building improvements at the new location. Althouse said Oakshire has a 65 percent compound annual growth rate and as they continue to develop, they need better accommodations.
There’s a clanging sound of metal against metal as kegs are being filled and moved about the warehouse. Althouse continues:
“The larger we become, the more people we employ and the more connections there are in the community through outreach and sponsorship programs. It helps reinforce where your beer is made and people love that.”
Oakshire’s estimated output for this year is 6,500 barrels. With the expansion they are predicting an output of 11,000 barrels next year.
Oakshire spreading into the Whiteaker has led to some assumptions that a beer battle may ensue between themselves and the Ninkasi Brewing Company, which is also a local brewery in the Whiteaker. However, Althouse states that could not be farther from the truth, explaining,
“Everybody in the neighborhood is excited to have us down there, including Ninkasi, and we’re excited to be in the neighborhood with them.”
The brewer was born in Eugene and bought a house in the Whiteaker before Ninkasi Brewing was ever there, so he is familiar with the area. Althouse says,
“There’s more and more beer production going on in the Whiteaker every day, which is great. It’s exciting.”
Althouse emphasized the importance of local breweries. People enjoy having options when it comes to their beer. He said local businesses often end up with similar customers and that’s just the way it works.
Originally, he was hoping the new location would be open for Thanksgiving, but that will not be the case. He is now planning to have the new facilities on Madison St. open by February, just in time for Zwickelmania — the Oregon Brewery Tour. Oregon Craft Beer hosts the tour. It is a statewide event that offers visitors a chance to see Oregon breweries, meet the brewers, and sample their favorite beers.
For more information about the Oakshire Brewing Company, visit their company website at http://oakbrew.com/. For more information about Zwickelmania (Oregon Brewery Tour hosted by Oregon Craft Beer), visit http://oregonbeer.org/zwickelmania/.