From Old Bones Comes a New Beer Choice for Oregon

Only in Oregon could a former keg washer for Deschutes Brewery, who moved to Bend to snowboard, first become a builder and salvager of brewing equipment before starting a microbrewery that now perches on the doorstep of Oregon's top 10 microbreweries.

And he did it in less than three years.

That is the story of Boneyard Beer co-owner and head brewer Tony Lawrence. Lawrence named his brewery after the "boneyard" of discarded and used brewing equipment he created and then rebuilt to produce his first keg of Boneyard beer in April 2010. In less than three years, Boneyard has grown to become Oregon's 11th largest microbrewery increasing it sales 175% in 2012 to reach 7,500 barrels of production.

Business Oregon recently signed on to partner with Boneyard to grow into a 15,000-square-foot plant in Northeast Bend. Using funds received from the federal government through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), Business Oregon helped guarantee 50% of a loan from Columbia State Bank to Boneyard in early 2013, the final piece of financing for the expansion.

Boneyard officials said they planned to begin brewing in their new facility, which is three times larger than their current one, in January 2014 and expect to more than double their current capacity from 15,000 annual barrels to 40,000.

Bend and Deschutes County, already home to top 10 microbrewers Deschutes (No. 1) and 10 Barrel (No. 9), has emerged as a microbrewing epicenter here in Oregon. When it comes to jobs per region, it is Central Oregon that takes the gold medal. According to the Oregon Employment Department, Central Oregon breweries and pubs employed 513 people in 2011. The three-county region has one brewing industry job for every 390 people.