With the help of employees and an army of Rogue Ale fans and spiritual supporters, the “tossing of the beer” Monday celebrated the beginning of construction of a 20,000 square foot expansion of the Rogue Ale brewery at South Beach. The project will mostly be used for storing beer that is ready to ship throughout the state and beyond. The current facility houses both brewing and warehousing operations. When the new warehouse is ready for use it will allow the brewery functions to expand, thereby allowing more of the world to “go Rogue.”
Celebrants enjoyed a quick lunch, the cook’s tour of the brewery, the tossing of the beer and a round of speeches that mostly recalled Rogue’s humble beginnings in Ashland back in the late ’80s. As Rogue founder Jack Joyce recounts, he and a frat buddy from their University of Oregon days cranked up a craft brewpub in Ashland in 1988. But they quickly realized that although the beer they brewed was top drawer, their facility wasn’t big enough to produce enough revenue. Joyce hit the road in search of a new location and wound up on a snow covered street in February of 1989 on Newport’s Bayfront where he met Mohave (Mo) Niemi who fed him her famous hot clam chowder along with her vision for his brewing operations in Newport.
Mo offered him a good deal on taking over a building on Bay Street which soon became the Rogue House. The establishment grew to where it became necessary to separate the brewing from the eating and drinking and with the help of the Port of Newport, moved lock, stock and beer barrels to their current location on the south side of the bay, next to the bridge.
Addressing the crowd at the brewery Monday, Joyce said the expansion of the brewery will create 20 new jobs for the town as well as give the brewery room to grow as Rogue Ale’s market continues to mushroom. Although Rogue has other facilities and restaurant establishements throughout Oregon Joyce said “Newport will always be Rogue’s true home. There’s something special about this place, the beauty, its people and the friendly atmosphere that sets it apart.”
Jack Joyce, Rogue Ales Founder