The Lolo Lowdown on the Green Dragon

Loren "Lolo" Lancaster  (Morrison)
Lorren "Lolo" Lancaster, Green Dragon founder (Morrison)

Brewpublic just spoke with Lorren “Lolo” Lancaster regarding the potential Rogue take over of the Green Dragon Pub and Bistro.  Lancaster, a 1/3 owner of the popular Southeast Portland beer geek hangout is well known and liked by the community of regulars who frequent the Green Dragon.

When I asked Lancaster about the recent news of a potential selling of his beloved bar, he says, “I am great.  I feed off the energy.”  Lancaster says  “I only found out about Ed (Schwartz) and Rogue (planning a deal) ten days ago.  I wondered why (Schwartz) didn’t come to me first.”  Lancaster has retained lawyers to help him keep the Green Dragon’s independent character.  “I got a copy of the agreement Rogue hit Ed with” says Lancaster. “Ed’s going to receive a paper that I intend to purchase within 30 days.”  Currently Lancaster maintains that he is meeting with business investors.  “I expected Ed would have come to me first, but he didn’t” says Lancaster “He said he wanted $225,000 to get out.  That’s way too cheap.   The Dragon made almost half of that in September.  September was our one-year anniversary. No businesses make money in the first year.” Lancaster also claims that the Green Dragon is about two weeks out on permits for the brewhouse to be legally operational. “This is (Schwartz)’s first rodeo. I’ve been in this business for thirteen years” says Lancaster, 39, whose last job was as a brewer with Deschutes in Bend for four years.  Before that, Lancaster spent four-and-a-half years as the lead brewer for Anderson Valley in Boonville, California.  He also brewed briefly with Star Brewing of Portland.  Lancaster served for more than three years as draft technician with F.H. Steinbarts. “I’ve never burned a bridge” says Lancaster, who remains in contact with most of his former employers.

Green Dragon
Lorren "Lolo" Lancaster @ Green Dragon

According to Lancaster, the papers for the Green Dragon to change ownership to Rogue could be signed tomorrow.  “I have nothing against Rogue” he says.  “Jack Joyce (founder, CEO) is a business man.   (Rogue) is just seeing a sweet deal.  It is like a classic automobile collector finding a desirable car for sale way under-price.  You can’t blame them for trying to move in on it.”  It appears that Lancaster’s most upset with Green Dragon’s current majority owner, Schwartz.  “All Ed wants is his money.  He doesn’t care about beer stuff” says Lancaster.  “This is my life.  I don’t want to be some guy in an office shuffling papers around.  I want to brew!”

Allegedly, Rogue will began conducting interviews tomorrow at their Flanders Street Pub in NW Portland with current Green Dragon employees.  “Rogue’s Manifesto basically states that they will never bow down to corporate breweries” says Lancaster (referring to Rogue’s Declaration of Independence). “I am going to apply for a dishwasher job and see if I am qualified.”

Lancaster is unclear what Rogue’s main interest is in a purchase of the Green Dragon, other than its obvious popularity amongst craft beer lovers.  Distiller Kieran Sienkiewicz was recently laid off from Integrity Spirits, a company that Schwartz is also a minority owner in, and shares the building with Green Dragon.  Lancaster says Jerome Chicvara is behind the move to let go of Sienkiewicz.  Chicvara, a Full Sail investor, craft beer representative for Maletis Beverage and former CEO of Portland Brewing is a majority investor in Integrity.  “In my opinion” continues Lancaster “Rogue is looking at the distillery and sees it outselling them about ten-to-one.  That could very well be what they are most interested in.”  Sienkiewicz and current Integrity distiller Rich Phillips are both former distillers for Rogue.

Lancaster appears quite optimistic about the future.  “I recently spoke with Rich Wolfe, my mentor” he says.  Wolfe is the head of Siebel Institute of Technology’s economic advisory board. “He gave me a lot of great information.  He’s a good cat, super smart and informed me of my rights.”  Lancaster summates his feelings for the Green Dragon saying “My passion for beer, like others’ creates it own reallity.  Always changing and evolving like society.  Beer is an inherent part of culture.  I wanna brew!”

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