The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Larry Sidor Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Tiah Edmunson-Morton.

November 6, 2015


Larry Lathers Sidor was born in 1950 in Corvallis, Oregon, where his family remained until moving to La Grande, Oregon five years later. Sidor's father, Ted, was an OSU Extension Agent who was based in La Grande for the bulk of Larry's childhood. As a boy, Larry became interested in mechanical work, partly through his exposure to the farm equipment that he saw through his father's engagement with regional agriculturalists.

In 1968, Sidor enrolled at Oregon State University, intent on majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Acting on the advice of his academic advisor, Sidor changed his major to Food Science during his sophomore year at OSU. The job market for Food Science majors during this time was especially strong, and the idea of transforming agricultural products held great appeal for Sidor. While at OSU, Sidor had the opportunity to assist with various research projects and one of these, at a winery, inspired in him the desire to become a vintner.

Following the completion of his undergraduate studies in 1972, Sidor explored a handful of job opportunities at various wineries, but was not able to find a good fit. Instead, he and a friend spent a year traveling through Europe and, during a stop in Munich, Sidor began considering the possibility of working in a brewery.

After returning to the United States, Sidor developed a plan to move to Alaska and work on the oil pipelines. While in transit heading north, Sidor stopped in Olympia, Washington and made a visit to the Olympia Brewing Company. This experience convinced him to stay in Olympia and, in January 1974, he began working for the brewery as a packaging quality control technician. During this time, he shadowed the company's brewers and, in 1976, Olympia sent him to brewing school at the Siebel Institute of Technology.

Upon his return to Olympia, Sidor was promoted to the position of assistant brewmaster. Eventually he became an operations manager at Olympia, learning more about the trade and making connections with hop and barley growers in the Yakima and Willamette Valleys.

In 1997, Sidor left Olympia for a position at S.S. Steiner, Inc., a hops merchant based in Yakima, Washington. A vice president and operations manager at Steiner, Sidor focused on improving the quality of the hops that the company sold. As a side project, Sidor started a vineyard as well, selling most of his grapes to commercial operations but also making small batches of wine himself.

Sidor left Steiner at the end of 2003 to accept a position as brewmaster as the Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. In this capacity, Sidor pushed to explore more experimental beers. He also oversaw the creation of the Deschutes Pub in downtown Portland, where many of his more adventurous recipes were released for the first time.

Wishing to further expand upon his interest in creating new types of beers, Sidor left Deschutes in December 2012 and, six months later, founded a new Bend-based brewery, the Crux Fermentation Project. Today, he is the head brewmaster at Crux and, with two others, a partner in the business.