Local focus: Brewery and winery raise a toast to their community

May 2010 Posted in Business, Other

An electrician at works on the Tap Room interior lighting with two and a half weeks to go before opening.       By Linda Whitmore

During an extended Memorial Day weekend, a local winery and a local brewery will debut their new Tap Room. And “local” is their byword.

Chris Deckelmann, co-owner of Vitis Ridge winery with his wife, Sharon; and partners Bruce and Sally Eich and Glen Bruenger; is pleased about the project they are joining in with Seven Brides Brewery.

“It’s great to tie in with these folks; I believe it will be a good fit,” and nodding toward Jeff DeSantis of Seven Brides, he said, “He tells me to hang on!”

Seven Brides Brewery started just two years ago and has multiplied its size and distribution exponentially.

The latest jump in growth meant moving the brewing operation to a vastly larger building, and in the same location, Vitis Ridge is constructing its new winery.

Both winery and brewery businesses expect their manufacturing areas to be completed in June. In the meantime, the Tap Room, where both their wines and beers will be featured, will open on May 27.

Tap Room opening events
990 N. First St., Silverton
Thursday, May 27 through Monday, May 31
3 – 11 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Monday
Noon – 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday
Entertainers: Kit Garoutte, guitarist and singer,
during the afternoons; Wildfire in the evening
Helicopter rides, $20, fly over hop fields,
Vitis Ridge vineyards, Silverton and The Oregon Garden
Scheduled tours of winery and brewery,
now under construction at the site
Available: Appetizer menu;
Seven Brides Brewery beers and ales,
Vitis Ridge wines in commemorative glasses

It’s been a whirlwind of activity to get the new facility ready; one that relied upon a lot of local effort – interaction with area businesses and people is a basic tenant of the two companies.

“Everything we do is about Silverton,” said DeSantis, public relations director for the brewery.

In return for the community’s backing, the partners aim to return the favor – from providing their beverages at every local function possible to employing local contractors in their construction and buying local products.

“If we can buy it locally, we work really, really hard to do that,” DeSantis said.

He started with city government, which he said has been “phenomenal to work with,” from planning the project to assistance with their application for an urban renewal grant.

“The grant is tied to a number of things,” DeSantis said. It aims to create jobs in the community. Ten people will be hired by the time the Tap Room opens; with an eventual goal of 18 full-time workers. Developing new jobs creates a better tax base for the city and more spending in the community.

Much of the food served in the Tap Room will be raised or made locally, including sausages from Mount Angel, cheese from a local creamery and fresh vegetables from local farms. Even the furnishings and equipment have come from former local restaurants.

DeSantis ticked off a long list of contractors, lumber suppliers, printers, sign makers and other local businesses, they are employing, using words like “incredible” and “a godsend” in his praise of their quality and craftsmanship.

In recessionary times, when many people in the building trades are having difficulty finding work, transforming the former Traeger warehouse into a brewery, winery and taproom has kept “countless” workers busy.

Among them are general contractor Dennis Downey Construction, who’s team of Peter Schmidt and Lee Brendan are “spectacular,” DeSantis said.

Aschrel Industries, owned by Rich Aschrel, did the hardwood walls and flooring. Monico Homes did the concrete work, drains and insulation and Pipewerks plumbed the restaurant and brewery projects.

DeSantis also used the resources of Abiqua Hop Farm. New Creations, owned by Paul Mathae; created the signs and Paul Nida of Heron Graphics did the printing.

Pulling it all together has been crazy at times, but the folks at Vitis Ridge and Seven Brides are grateful for all the help they’ve gotten.

“Our community has allowed us to get to where we are now and we will always be trying to repay them.”

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