A new acquisition in the brewing industry has been announced this morning as Deschutes Brewery acquires fellow Bend based brewery Boneyard Beer. The announcement comes that this is a joint venture between the two Bend breweries. Though what it does allow for is greater expansion of Boneyard Beer, especially its popular RPM IPA, throughout the Pacific Northwest and possibly beyond. The Boneyard Elixir line of sparkling CBD beverages and Boneyard Pub are not part of this purchase from Deschutes and will remain separate entities.
On the business side of things, one item that will surely change is Boneyard Beer’s distribution rights. Deschutes Brewery is tied in closely with Columbia Distributing in the Pacific Northwest while Boneyard Beer is the golden child in the Point Blank Distributing portfolio in Oregon. There will be some backroom dealings in the near future if this has not already taken place.
Below is the press release that was sent out from Deschutes Brewery that discusses this new merger and the nearly thirty year history that Deschutes Brewery founder Gary Fish and Boneyard Beer co-founder Tony Lawrence have.
Bend, OR – Today, Deschutes Brewery and Boneyard Beer announced a new joint venture, forming a unique, Bend-based, local-to-local, craft-to-craft partnership. Boneyard Beer Founder, Tony Lawrence and Deschutes Brewery Founder, Gary Fish, who originally worked together almost 30 years ago, will reunite to bring together two of the Pacific Northwest’s (PNW) most iconic and award-winning breweries. With over 60 years of combined experience and poised at an incredibly exciting time in this industry, Lawrence and Fish will begin this new venture with the energy and attitude that Deschutes and, later, Boneyard, brought to the industry when they were just starting out. Together, they are determined to be a powerful catalyst of the future of craft beer.
These two small-town brewers, both born and raised in Bend, OR just a couple miles apart, are embarking on a new joint venture that will provide Boneyard the ability to increase availability of their portfolio of brands like RPM IPA in cans at grocery stores, liquor stores and bars throughout the PNW.
“This partnership is built on relationships,” said Gary Fish, founder of Deschutes. “Family and employee owned, our two breweries become a collection of inspired people maintaining their individualistic free spirit and undying vision for what beer can be. I am beyond proud of what Tony has accomplished in Boneyard and am thrilled to be working with him again.”
“I cut my teeth at Deschutes and it’s still a home of sorts,” said Lawrence who founded Boneyard in 2010. “It was an integral part of my personal and professional journey. My experience as a 21-year-old snowboard transplant falling into the Deschutes orbit was amazing. It gave me a direction to follow and an opportunity in both Bend and craft beer. To combine forces with Deschutes in Bend and explore what Boneyard is capable of is simply a dream come true.”
For Fish and Lawrence, this reunion is nearly 30 years in the making. Both industry icons share an enthusiasm for craft beer, appreciate the significance of both breweries being based in Bend, share roots of being family-owned businesses, and have the cherished memories of carving out and exploring a fledgling industry in the late 1980s.
“I’m most excited about the opportunity this union provides both companies,” Fish stated. “Boneyard’s rebel spirit and independent attitude will be great for Deschutes.” Together, Deschutes and Boneyard’s partnership provides an opportunity to expand Boneyard’s availability and satisfy the demand of thirsty “Boneheads” throughout the Pacific Northwest. “One of the most significant aspects of this deal is that both brands will retain their separate identities, continuing to do what they do best.”
Lawrence explained that throughout his 12 years at Deschutes, Fish gave him the autonomy to creatively figure out complex challenges during years of explosive growth that can often stunt the growth of a young company. “He never doubted or challenged our efforts,” said Lawrence who’s looking forward to redirecting some of his attention from the boardroom to the brewhouse. “I whole-heartedly believe we can do great things together; we have respect for our roots and we’re proud of our journey, but that journey is far from over.” Since the late eighties Deschutes has been not only a steadfast source of great beer, but also great brewers, all schooled in that original idea of bringing better beer to the people.
Boneyard Beer was started with one goal in mind – make great beer. In 2010, Boneyard Beer was created in an old auto shop tucked away in the backstreets of Bend, Oregon’s historical district. Without any outside investors or major bank loans, Boneyard’s inception was unconventional to say the least. After decades in the brewing industry, owner Tony Lawrence built up a “boneyard” of old equipment he collected from 13 different breweries around the country. Alongside co-founders, Clay and Melodee Storey, Lawrence pieced this second-hand brewing equipment together to brew the first batch of Boneyard Beer in May 2010. As Boneyard has grown, the initial fermenters have been replaced with shiny new ones, but the original, refurbished 20-barrel system is still the one Boneyard uses for seasonal and special release beers today. With the capacity of 15,000 barrels per year it allows our Brewers to have creative minds and a lot of fun! Where can you get Boneyard Beer? Check out our freshly “minted” beer finder on our website! https://boneyardbeer.com/beer-finder/
Deschutes Brewery, family and employee owned since 1988, is one of the quintessential beers of the Pacific Northwest. Founded on the guiding principles of true craftsmanship, ultimate quality, and extraordinary consumer experience, Deschutes Brewery is recognized for defining beers such as Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale,Fresh Squeezed IPA and the non-stop release of pioneering small batch experimental and barrel-aged beers. Deschutes can be found at its brewpubs in Bend and Portland, Oregon, Tasting Rooms in Bend, and Roanoke, Virginia and at accounts in 31 states across the country. Visit Deschutes Brewery’s beer finder at https://www.deschutesbrewery.com/beer-finder/to find a Deschutes beer near you. www.deschutesbrewery.com
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.