USA: Deschutes Brewery buys first brewery in history

Privately owned Deschutes Brewery one of the ten largest craft breweries in the United States has acquired neighboring Boneyard Beer, the first acquisition in its 32-year-old history.

Gary Fish, founder of Deschutes Brewery reported on the company’s website, that he has known Boneyard Brewery owner Tony Lawrence for years. “As a 21-year-old snowboarder looking for a job, Tony wandered into the Deschutes Pub in Bend in the late 80s and he was hooked. In the next twelve years he soaked up everything he could learn about the art of making great beer, before setting off on his own adventure,” Mr. Fish said.

“Gary was a great boss and a great mentor,” Mr. Lawrence said. “To be with him again is a real kick. Back in the day, he gave me all the responsibility I could handle and never doubted my efforts or my ability. And now, with this new partnership, he’s really looking for us to be us--to bring that Boneyard culture and attitude to everything we do.”

In exchange for selling his brewery Mr. Lawrence will receive shares of the company and a job within the organization being responsible for the direction and production of Boneyard’s beer.

In order to cut costs, Boneyard will move its 30,000 barrel (35,000 hl) production and canning operations to the Deschutes Brewery production. No job losses will be associated with this deal, according to Mr. Fish. In April last year, Deschutes was forced to lay off about 60 percent of its 490-person staff. (, 27.4.2020)

From the consumer’s perspective, nothing will change. “They shouldn’t notice anything at all,” said Mr. Fish. “The branding will be same, the same artwork, the same attitude, still brewed in Bend, Oregon. Any brewing of Boneyard at Deschutes will be under the strict supervision of Tony himself. He will supervise the flavor match. We look forward to that process.”

The advantages for both companies are obvious.

Dechutes can absorb a local competitor and tap other customers who are intrigued by skull and crossbones image while Dechutes conjures up scenes from pure mountains and rivers.

Boneyard will get a strong partner to survive the downturn in sales due to the pandemic. The company had until recently only sold draft-beer, and was severely hit by the closure of pubs during the COVID-19 pandemic. In April last year, Boneyard announced it would start selling canned beer to compensate for the loss in draught beer.

Within the new cooperation, Boneyard will be distributed along the west coast and might also benefit from Deschutes’ network of distribution, which goes out to 35 states and some international locations.

“We think there is terrific demand out there,” Mr. Fish added.

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