If you, like me, assumed there was no room for another brewery in Oregon (like, no actual physical space left to jam one), the City of Madras begs to differ. It is begging to differ so much that it is on the offensive to recruit a brewery to open up there. For real, here is the website pitching you on it. The city believes it is a great opportunity for: an established brewer looking to expand, a business guru looking for the next investment or the passion-project type who’s driven by the love of beer, good food and community.
Gotta be honest, that sounds like you. So, what are you waiting for?
Wait! I have a lot of questions. Where is this exactly?
The spot they have in mind is the Urban Renewal District (URD), located in the downtown core around U.S. Highway 97, and recently released marketing materials to help present the opportunity to prospects.
Here are the selling points of the city, says them:
- Ultra-pure water from nearby Opal Springs, water naturally filtered by thick layers of volcanic basalt.
- Unique farm-to-tap and farm-to-table opportunities — locally grown and malted grain, regionally sourced hops and locally grown and raised food.
- Location in the heart of Oregon, central Oregon — a center of craft beer culture and a prime tourist destination welcoming 4.3 million overnight visitors in 2016 (COVA Visitor Economic Impact Report), with average daily spend per visitor per day of $143.
- Opportunity to be the first brewery in Madras — the last best place in Oregon without a brewery (yet!).
- City of Madras’ commitment to making it happen — MRC’s robust package of business incentives.
*Scratches chin* Incentives? What are they offering?
More like what aren’t they offering? Through the Madras Redevelopment Commission (MRC), the city is offering a package of incentives and assistance to help Madras’ first craft brewer start a brewery or brew pub and become a vital member of a community. Examples of assistance include:
- Site selection within URD
- Architecture costs
- Engineering costs
- Permit fees
- Site development costs
- Building renovation costs
- Tenant improvements
- Expedited permitting
- Technical assistance with wastewater disposal design
- Technical assistance with environmental efforts
- Jefferson County Small Business Startup Loan Opportunity
Can anyone in brewing vouch for this?
How about a malthouse? Mecca Grade is an estate malthouse located in Madras, offering the opportunity for farm-to-tap experiences with locally grown and malted grain. And with Madras’ vast agricultural industry, locally grown and raised food makes the possibility of farm-to-table options viable for a pub restaurant.
“Madras offers such a unique opportunity for a brewer or brewpub because we’re one of the few towns that can supply a completely local brewery, from amazing water and locally grown and malted grain, to local produce, beef, pork and dairy,” Mecca Grade owner Seth Klann said. “It could be a celebration of our whole community, which is pretty cool.”
This sounds amazing. I’m sold. Will anyone be mad at me if I do this?
The city received input from a ton of residents for its Urban Renewal Action Plan, which is part of where the idea brewery came from, but there’s a critic for everything. Here’s one from the Associated Press article:
“I don’t think the city should be involved in anything like that,” said Jan Six, owner of the Rialto Tavern, which is just off U.S. Route 97 and has 11 beer taps, along with liquor. “They’re not supposed to be taking business away from us. We’ve worked really hard to build this business. It’s not right.”
As long as you can handle Jan Six, I think you are half way to your first expansion. Now get out there (this website specifically) and be somebody.