Your team’s been busy. How’s the expansion going, out there?
Yeah, we finished it. We moved in I guess early December, finally? With 27,000 square feet, we finished off and got all the permitting, and we’re in there, it’s full, and that excites you because it was a number of years in the making. Just working with the Port of Newport, who is our landlord down there. That’s the biggest expansion we’ve ever undertaken down there, so that was the culmination of lots of work, and lots of digging, building, cost, time and planning. That was fun to see all that come to fruition and culminate with us moving all our stuff in there.
Yeah, I saw it in the summer. It looked quite big. Is it mostly for storage?
Yeah, it’s dry storage, and also a second loading dock. Now we have a separate shipping and receiving dock, whereas before the two were the same. Just some efficiencies there, and we were just out of space. What you don’t see when you’re there is we have stuff stored all over the place because we were just simply out of room. We were able to take that stuff out of satellite, remote warehouses and get it all under one roof, so we’re not having to touch it so many times. Yeah, really that space goes to dry storage.
Cool. Any new plans for the brewhouse or anything? Anything going on there? Or are you guys pretty set for now?
No, I think actually we’ve done a lot in the last number of years. I talked about, between the bottle lines that I mentioned and the can line and we put in a new keg line maybe three or four years ago now, and the expansion. I think we’re really in good shape, so it’s been a lot of capital, work the last four or five years certainly. I think we’re really in a good position now to just get past that, and not have to … I’m sure you know it takes tons of time, effort, energy and money, too. It’s nice to not have a big capital project on the horizon — at least not at the brewery.
How’s the distilling side going, and the farming side going? Status quo? Anything new there?
Well, on the distilling side? Yeah, I think the business is still fun and solid. We just received a huge, huge award at the World Beverage Competition. We’re getting more and more time in the barrels. I think our quality of our whiskeys especially is improving. We have some stuff now that’s four years old, so we’re trying to find the sweet spot for the whiskeys.
The farming continues to be the source of lots of inspiration and innovation for us. We have a 5 Hop IPA coming, that’s a black IPA. So now we have 4 Hop, 6 Hop, 7 Hop and 8 Hop, and we skipped 5 Hop for no real reason other than we just skipped it. We came back to that this year, and have 5 Hop coming out. That’s been fun. We planted two more hop varieties last year, so now we’re up to 10 hop varieties that we’re growing out in the farm. The farm kind of never stops, I guess.
The the farm hop beers are doing well for you. It seems like I see them everywhere.
Yeah, where are you based?
Yeah, they’re continuing to do better and better. We just released the family. Prior to last year, we just had the 7 Hop. The family’s become one of our core families of beer. We’re pleased with the quality of the concept, and certainly we’re proud of the product. We’re excited to share the farm stories with the people through the products. I think it’s done fairly well in terms of sales, and I think the good thing is there’s still so much more we can do, and there’s room to go and room to grow. I think that’s a good thing.
Yeah, IPAs are just crushing the market still. It seems like a solid business move to invest in those styles of beer.
Also, we do other beers that aren’t in the IPA category. We do a Kölsch with the honey we grow, a pils called Good Chit Pilsner with barley that we malt ourselves, and a fresh roast beer that we roast and malt ourselves from the malts we grow at our farm. The IPAs kind of get all the credit with the hops, but we also have other crops that are shared in other ways. Pumpkin — we have real pumpkins and have a pumpkin patch beer. The hops get the limelight oftentimes but we have a whole slew of crops and a number of products that share those crops with beer drinkers.
What else is on the horizon?
We’ve increased our sales force significantly, so we’re really investing deeply in people and hiring more people to get the Rogue message shared with more retailers and fans out there across the country. Maybe that’s not as sexy to report on, but certainly it’s important given the ever-increasing competition out there. We’re committed to doing that and to the long-term need to have more people out there. You can have all the great beers you want, but if you don’t have the personnel and the infrastructure to get those products to market, then what’s the point?
It’s good hear that you guys are hiring. That’s cool.
Also, we own the pub called The Green Dragon, which was the only non-Rogue pub. We converted that over last month to a Rogue pub, so it’s now called Rogue Eastside Pub and Pilot Brewery. That’s been really exciting for us to have a new Rogue pub here on the east side of Portland, which is actually right across the street from our office where I am right now. I can see it from my window, here. That’s been fun. The fans have responded, so the transition’s been pretty smooth. That’s fun for us to just be able to have 35 rogue beers on tap to share with people here on the east side of town.
Yeah, I dig that place. Very cool, Brett. I can’t meet up with you at Rogue Eastside, but maybe I’ll catch you the CBC in April.
Yeah, I will definitely be out there in DC.
All right, well don’t work too hard then.
All right, man. Thanks for the time I appreciate it.