The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

Sort Interviews by Affiliation or Theme

Larry Sidor Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Tiah Edmunson-Morton.

November 6, 2015


“From Olympia to Deschutes to Crux: A Brewer's Life”  November 6, 2015  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Sidor discusses his family background and rural upbringing in La Grande, Oregon, commenting on his father's activities as an OSU Extension Agent, his own boyhood interests in mechanical work, and the life histories of his mother and his siblings. From there, Sidor recounts his undergraduate years at Oregon State University, noting his switch in majors from Mechanical Engineering to Food Science, and commenting on the curriculum then available to undergraduates in the Food Science department. Sidor likewise reflects on the research that he conducted while a student and, in particular, his interest in winemaking during that time.

From there, Sidor details the circumstances by which he declined a handful of job opportunities in the wine industry, opted instead to travel for a year in Europe, and began considering a career in brewing as a result of his experiences in Germany. He then traces his first connection with the Olympia Brewing Company; outlines his advancement within the company from packing quality control technician, to assistant brewmaster, to operations manager; shares his perspective on the brewing culture then prevalent at Olympia; and speaks of the connections that he made with hop growers in Washington and Oregon.

Sidor next provides an overview of his years working at the S.S. Steiner company, shares his memories of the rise of microbreweries in the 1980s and 1990s, and reflects on the relationships that Steiner maintained with agricultural scientists at OSU. He also discusses his own forays into grape growing and winemaking during his years in Yakima.

The remainder of the interview is devoted to Sidor's career as a brewmaster at Deschutes Brewery and, later, at the Crux Fermentation Project, which he founded. As he reviews these two chapters of his life, Sidor comments on the push for experimentation at Deschutes, as well as his key involvement in the establishment of the Deschutes Portland pub. He likewise reflects on his departure from Deschutes and the subsequent founding of Crux, noting the increased capacity for experimentation that this shift has afforded. The session concludes with Sidor's thoughts on the future of craft brewing; reflections on the importance of his connection with OSU; and points of pride looking back.