Bend's pioneer brewery has more expansion on tap

Deschutes turns 25, expanding to Iowa, Nebraska

POSTED: 7:13 PM PDT May 8, 2013    UPDATED: 4:06 PM PDT May 9, 2013 
BEND, Ore. -

Central Oregon's biggest brewery is getting even bigger. Deschutes Brewery opened in Bend 25 years ago -- and continues to grow. Now available in 20 states, it's taking big steps to keep up with demand.

Traveling by ship and truck, it took over a month for the latest additions to Deschutes Brewery to arrive in Bend.

The new 40,000-gallon fermentation tanks were ordered from a company in Germany over a year ago. They were completed last month and shipped down through through the Panama Canal all the way to Vancouver, B.C. From there, they were trucked to Central Oregon.

And it looks like they made it in pretty good shape. There's a couple scratches and dings, but we'll get those polished up, and have them ready to go here in a couple months," said Deschutes Brewery Marketing Director Jeff Billingsley.

"In the fermentation vessels, we pitch our yeast in to ferment the beer," said Tour Supervisor Aaron Calihan. "The fermentation vessels we're adding today are the biggest fermenters we have on the property."

Using two cranes and plenty of helping hands, the first of five new tanks was installed Wednesday.

"These tanks are primarily for increased capacity on our big sellers, primarily Mirror Pond, and for the Summer Twilight Ale," Calihan said.

The increase in capacity is needed for the brewery's growing demand -- not only here, but across the country as well.

"We're in 20 states as of right now. We'll have Iowa and Nebraska added this summer, for a total of 22 this year, and we're looking at a handful next year,"  Billingsley said.

The popularity is no surprise to Bend's first brewery, and they believe one thing sets them apart from the rest.

"The quality -- absolutely, hands down the quality. We use the best quality indigents, we buy the best quality equipment, and I like to think we hire the best quality people," Calihan said. "That allows us to produce the best quality beer that we actually can."

Brewery managers say the next big project is expanding the bottling line. But they say that is still years away.