I'm Gary Fish. In 1988 I founded Deschutes Brewery. Ask Me Anything!

Discussion in 'Ask Me Anything' started by GaryatDeschutes, Jun 17, 2020.

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  1. GaryatDeschutes

    GaryatDeschutes Initiate (133) Jun 16, 2003 Oregon

    Hi, my name is Gary Fish. In 1988 I founded Deschutes Brewery (not Brewing Company!). Our original business plan was simply a small brewpub in a small town in Central Oregon (Bend). We got caught up in the growth of the craft brewing industry and now rank somewhere around 11th largest craft brewery in the country.

    I am happy to participate in Ask Me Anything and, in fact, am excited about what kind of conversations we can start. I will let you know; I am not a technical brewer so please understand that if you ask me those kinds of questions. However, I do know some of the best brewers on the planet and can generally get some help with the technicalities if necessary.

    I have been involved in the growth and evolution of craft beer since the beginning. I was a founding board member, and later board chair, of the Oregon Brewers Guild and, later, was a founding board member and board chair of the Brewers Association.

    My background, before craft beer, was the restaurant business. Hence, the brewpub concept. My father (my original partner) was involved in the California wine industry during it’s modern renaissance in the late 60’s and early 70’s. That is where the inspiration for a brewpub came from.

    A lot has happened to the industry, Deschutes Brewery and me in the past 32 years, and I look forward to our conversation.

    Let’s do this!

    Ask me anything!!
  2. GaryatDeschutes

    GaryatDeschutes Initiate (133) Jun 16, 2003 Oregon

    I'll begin to answer questions tomorrow, June 18.
  3. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (676) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Why did Deschutes decide to sponsor the American Ultimate Disk League?

    Do you play or follow ultimate?

    What is your favorite Deschutes beer?

    What are your favorite non-Deschutes beers? Or what beers are you likely drinking when you aren't drinking your own?

    REVZEB Poo-Bah (12,179) Mar 28, 2013 Illinois

    What is the future of the abyss series? Really enjoy trying new variants each year, hope that continues! Cheers!
    ChicagoJ, Malison, thuey and 2 others like this.
  5. traction

    traction Devotee (466) Dec 4, 2010 Georgia

    No questions just showing some respect to a craft beer OG while I have the chance
    pudgym29, Lahey, ChicagoJ and 20 others like this.
  6. bsp77

    bsp77 Poo-Bah (2,405) Apr 27, 2008 Minnesota

    Hi Gary, love your stuff. My gaming profile is actually Dissident (half a reference to your beer and half to the Pearl Jam song), which pulls my love for beer, music and gaming all together.

    Anyway, how do you feel about the changes the "Haze Craze" has forced on the industry? While I feel you were one of the early purveyors of nationalizing the Juicy IPA with Fresh Squeezed, it seems that the strong shift to Hazy IPAs has forced you to retire some of your old standbys, which in all honesty I preferred to having more Hazy IPAs on the market. Do you feel this is simply something you must to do stay abreast or is their real love for the style within the brewery?

    woemad, ChicagoJ, 2beerdogs and 7 others like this.
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,826) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Gary, thanks for participating!

    In 2019 a decision was made to nix (delay?) opening an East Coast Brewery (Roanoke) for Deschutes. What is your current thinking concerning opening an East Coast Brewery? Is this brewery on permanent hiatus? If you decide next year to continue with plans to open an East Coast Brewery will the location be the same (i.e., Roanoke)?

    woemad, russpowell, ChicagoJ and 9 others like this.
  8. TheIPAHunter

    TheIPAHunter Poo-Bah (3,660) Aug 12, 2007 California
    Society Trader

    Gary, thanks for participating. Are you proud of the fact that Fresh Squeezed basically pre-dated what became the NEIPA craze? While not the look of the modern interpretation, it really was avant garde in its interpretation of flavors that can be derived from hops. I really enjoy this beer and believe it has stood the test of time. Thank you.
    Lahey, russpowell, ChicagoJ and 13 others like this.
  9. D09daryl

    D09daryl Initiate (140) Mar 11, 2017 California

    Why didn't you call it "Fish Brewing" ?
    woemad, ChicagoJ, bubseymour and 2 others like this.
  10. Skibumben

    Skibumben Initiate (0) Jun 17, 2020

    Hello Mr. Fish,

    Deschutes was my first real experience with craft beer whenI moved from Guam to the PNW in 1998. 6 years later I was getting married in the Mountain Room!

    I am fortunate enough to be a Reserve Club member and love the fun things you are doing, however are you looking at bringing back any classics such as Bachelor Bitter:beer:, Please! :slight_smile:
    woemad, russpowell, ChicagoJ and 7 others like this.
  11. jlindros

    jlindros Poo-Bah (11,862) Oct 6, 2007 Massachusetts

    Given how big you are now, do you have any plans to expand distribution, specifically Massachusetts or New England?
    OakvilleKGB likes this.
  12. vonmongo

    vonmongo Initiate (0) Feb 14, 2009 Alaska

    Been a fan of the brewery ever since I had Black Butte Porter on guest tap at the Mission Theater in Portland decades ago! Oh where does the time go!!

    My question is when will Black Butte Porter, one of the industry standards, finally be available in cans now that you have a canning line at the brewery?
  13. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (8,354) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming

    Top brewery, Deschutes is!

    Any chance of Bachelor Bitter and Pine Mountain Pils making a return?
    russpowell, ChicagoJ, 8eer and 7 others like this.
  14. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Initiate (0) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona

    Gary, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions!

    With all the hype around IPA/NEIPA what beer style would you enjoy seeing make a major comeback with consumers, and that you would enjoy drinking? We have seen lagers surging again, etc. would there be something you would love to see younger brewers make and people to get excited about verse the trend we are in with the juice craze.

    Cheers and thanks for your reply :beers::beers:
  15. Insomniac

    Insomniac Disciple (332) Nov 5, 2019 Canada (ON)

    Hey Gary, thanks for doing this. In Ontario, we can get Black Butte fairly regularly and a few others occasionally. I would love to see more of your beers up here. Any plans for this?

    Thanks and all the best.
    2beerdogs likes this.
  16. TheRock7755

    TheRock7755 Aspirant (299) Jun 4, 2015 Georgia

    Just a quick logistics question. Are there plans to distribute in the southeast? Primarily Georgia? I generally get a chance to enjoy your beer when I visit Chicago.

    Thank you
  17. kcc

    kcc Initiate (132) Feb 24, 2014 Pennsylvania

    Hey Gary,

    I hope you’re well and staying safe!

    How do you balance following the trends/money-makers and brewing the beers that get you excited, challenge you or that you just love to drink? As you’ve grown, has that growth enabled you to follow your brewing passions more or has it confined you?

    I am curious because there is no doubt that consumers want IPA, DIPA and now NEIPA, but those beers may not be what you are most passionate about (and it might get boring doing the same style of beer over and over!)

    Thanks for participating,

    ChicagoJ likes this.
  18. MikeyWWTexas

    MikeyWWTexas Initiate (43) Mar 28, 2018 Texas

    Howdy from Texas, Gary.
    I love your beers.My go to beer from various IPAs I enjoy is Deschutes Fresh Squeezed. There are ALWAYS 6-12 in my fridge. I always pour my beer into a glass.
    My question for you is : Fresh Squeezed tasted better when it was in bottles.Don't get me wrong I still love it,but it's not as ....I don't know....not as firm in taste and mouthfeel as before. I do understand how much easier and sensible it is from a marketing standpoint for shipping to have it in cans.For a while here in Austin, after the transition from bottles to cans, we could get bottles also (I did a side by side taste test back then) . It appears to me that the "Bottle Conditioning" doesn't work the same with cans. I am always careful to check the date and age it a bit if necessary before I drink. However I am an amatuer and you are the professional. Ideas?
  19. thuey

    thuey Defender (639) Nov 13, 2015 California

    I don't know if I have any questions but...

    I love what you guys are doing with The Abyss (still quite remarkable, and dissimilar to other BA stouts out there) and your Black Butte Anniversary series, which has different adjuncts / barrels each year.

    "Regular" Black Butte, Obsidian , Red Chair and Jubelale round out my Deschutes rotation when I can have them :slight_smile:
  20. Hoos78

    Hoos78 Disciple (305) Mar 3, 2015 Ohio

    One of my favorite breweries!! Looking forward to reading the responses and when I get some time I’ll post a question or two.
    2beerdogs, TongoRad and Bitterbill like this.
  21. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (10,026) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    Deschutes is one of my favorites, thanks for all the great beer.

    Will there be a Jubel 2020? I've been holding a few bottles of the 2010 for this year, and I've heard nothing.

    Any chance of of some of the old favorites (Cinder Cone, Bachelor, Pine Mountain, etc) making at least periodic returns? Maybe as a seasonal series?

    When we gonna get some fresh Mirror Mirror? Haven't seen it up here in Bellingham for a long time.

    I'm sure I'll think of more.
    woemad, ChicagoJ, 2beerdogs and 4 others like this.
  22. nova73

    nova73 Initiate (129) Jun 7, 2006 New York

    Do have a plan to start distributing to upstate NY?

    Specifically, the Binghamton and Syracuse area.
  23. ColdPaleAle

    ColdPaleAle Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2016 Texas

    Love Deschutes...one of my few "goto" beer makers. Any plans to distribute Pine Mountain Pilsner in Texas?
    turfy and thesherrybomber like this.
  24. storebrand

    storebrand Initiate (0) Feb 16, 2014 Colorado

    Hey Gary, I discovered Deschutes during a pit stop on my way through Oregon and became a big fan. Especially of Inversion IPA - I was psyched when you not only started selling it in stores here (CO) but in a little dive bar down the street from my previous residence (Gennaros in Denver).

    I'm guessing you've got it up to here with questions about this particular beer based on the page on your website (lol), but when you do start distributing it again in September will it again be available around here?

    Hope you and your family are staying well, thanks for doing this AMA!
    ChicagoJ likes this.
  25. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (8,354) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming

    Yeah, forgot aboot Cinder Cone, thanks for the reminder.
    jakecattleco and BBThunderbolt like this.
  26. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (3,001) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Big fan of Bachelor Bitter here as well. Once upon a time I was ordering cases of that and Obsidian Stout to the east coast via Belmont Station.

    It's great that we finally get Deschutes in NJ, but seeing either one of those would definitely bring it up a notch for me.
  27. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,771) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    No questions, but love your beers, and the Fresh Squeezed I had in Tacoma was as fine an ipa as Ive ever had, a fan of Abyss as well.
  28. socon67

    socon67 Poo-Bah (2,612) Jun 18, 2010 New York

    Big fan of your beers, especially Abyss and Black Butte! When I was in Portland OR last year I was amazed at the number of small craft breweries making so many solid beers. What was the craft beer scene in the area back in the late 80's, and was it revolutionary back then to make some of those early beers?
  29. Lulah

    Lulah Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2020 Idaho

    Heya and thanks for coming to answer our questions!

    Where would you suggest someone start in PNW brewing scene if they want to sell their own brews someday?
    What are your favorite beers, whether from your company or others?
    What are your favorite styles?
    Do you have anything coming up that we should watch out for?

    Cheers from West ID!
    ChicagoJ and 2beerdogs like this.
  30. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,965) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    I read on Wikipedia that your brewery has been recognized for sustainability initiatives but, perhpascounterintuitively, did not support a bill that would cap greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon. Can you say more about any of this? Not trying to play "gotcha." I just want to hear more about the rationale.
  31. chrisjws

    chrisjws Savant (937) Dec 3, 2014 California

    Much love and respect. I still get myself fresh squeezed on tap when I see it.

    You've had the chance to see craft go from early days when "no one would want anything this hoppy" was said about what we'd consider pretty tame today to the 100 IBU craze of the early 2010s, to the modern day haze craze. Staying relevant year after year isn't easy in any industry. How do you approach trends and staying on top of what's new while staying true to your ideals for the brewery?
  32. bigdeuce

    bigdeuce Savant (996) May 24, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I don’t want to ask anything. I just want to tell you that Black Butte Porter is one BADASS beer! I put in in my top 3 with Edmund Fitzgerald and Anchor. Keep up the great work!
    pudgym29, rocdoc1, ChicagoJ and 3 others like this.
  33. jampics2

    jampics2 Poo-Bah (1,808) Dec 19, 2008 Ohio
    Society Trader

    I just wanted to say hi. I got to meet you when I made my first work trip to Portland in May 2012. We met at the amazing HOTD Conflux/Collage 1 release dinner and you and your team made me feel so welcome even though I was so far from home.
    It’s just one of those beer memories/ experiences that converts admirers into lifelong fans. I still drink, love, and promote your beer anytime I can. Thanks for all you’ve done for craft beer and for being a great ambassador for the industry! :beers:
  34. Brugesman

    Brugesman Initiate (76) Apr 22, 2020 Oregon

    Welcome, Gary! Thanks for taking time to visit with the BA community.

    I'm wondering if you have plans to brew Hop in the Dark, or another Cascadian Dark Ale, anytime soon? I never had the chance to try Hop in the Dark, but the one or two other examples of that unique Northwest style that I have tried made a big impression on me. I just loved the combination of moderately roasted malt flavor with resinous NW hops. If you ever produced another Cascadian Dark, I would snap it up in a heartbeat.

    Thank you. Keep brewing world-class beer in awesome Bend, OR!
    Lulah and Bitterbill like this.
  35. Hinda65

    Hinda65 Disciple (390) May 7, 2017 Utah

    Your reserve series are at the top of my favorite beers. Will you brew The Stoic again?

    Please keep up your wonderful work with The Abyss and variants...They are beers I look forward to every year!
    ChicagoJ and Bitterbill like this.
  36. Stoutmaster9

    Stoutmaster9 Disciple (306) Dec 30, 2016 California

    From my experience Black Butte Porter and Fresh Squeezed IPA are very good, and Obsidian Stout is pure genius, keep fighting the good fight!
  37. keithmurray

    keithmurray Poo-Bah (1,804) Oct 7, 2009 Connecticut

    My brotha, what can we do to get you distribute to Connecticut?
    I need some Black Butte and Obsidian in my life.
  38. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (3,088) Sep 18, 2010 Washington

    Hi Gary, first I want to express my appreciation and gratitude for all your years of hard work. I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest since the early ‘90s so Deschutes beers have been a mainstay for me for almost 30 years. I don’t know when the last time was that I didn’t have a Deschutes beer in my fridge or cellar, certainly at least a decade.

    I’d just like to hear about what it’s been like to watch Bend transform over the decades from what I imagine was once just a medium-size, scenic town in a relatively remote location to one of America’s premier beer destinations, and also what it’s like to know that you’ve personally contributed to that growth. And maybe a little bit about what you think the saturation point is, or if it’s already been reached.

    #38 draheim, Jun 18, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2020
    woemad, pudgym29, ChicagoJ and 7 others like this.
  39. Longhorn08

    Longhorn08 Aspirant (285) Feb 4, 2014 Texas

    To my limited distro you guys don’t brew any classic Belgium styles. Is that true? And if so, why not?

    I’m a sucker for the the typical Quad, Tripple, and Dubbel and would love more American brewers to brew them.
    keithmurray and ChicagoJ like this.
  40. apintofknowledge

    apintofknowledge Devotee (440) Jun 14, 2004 Connecticut

    Gary, in all my travels, Bend is truly one of my favorite places in the US, and your brewery is one of the main reasons! Delicious beer and extremely friendly customers & bartenders.

    I love that you’re “flagship” is a porter, and Black Butte is among the best! I now live in CT, though travel a lot on the east coast, and need to know where to find your beers in any eastern states so I can stock up. Can you please help?

    Keep brewing great beer! Cheers!
    ChicagoJ likes this.
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