Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Nick Lorenz Oral History Interview, March 2, 2017

Oregon State University
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00:00:00 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: Alright.

Segment Synopsis: Lorenz introduces himself and provides his birth date, the current date and the interview location.

Keywords: Craft beverages; Craft mead; Fermentation science; Honeywine

Subjects: Apiculture; Corvallis (Or.); Mead; Small businesses

00:00:23 - Childhood memories and interests in Corvallis, OR

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Partial Transcript: So were you born here, in Corvallis?

Segment Synopsis: Lorenz recounts where he grew up, along the origins of his interest in agriculture as a young child. He describes his experiences with food preservation as a child, and how that raised the awareness he and his older brother had of value-added agriculture. He discusses the interests he had in sports and art, and how his education in a Montessori school contributed to these interests. Lorenz then details his early jobs at Denison farms, and how he and his brother got their friends involved in the local farming community.

Keywords: Club soccer; Club sports; Crescent Valley High School; Denison Farms (Corvallis, Or.); Family gardens; Montessori schools; Sibling friendship; Value-added agriculture; Vegetable gardens

Subjects: Agricultural products; Agriculture; Brotherhood; Canning & preserving; Corvallis (Or.); Farming; Food Preservation; Food--Preservation; Gardening; Pickling; Pottery; Sibling relations; Siblings; Soccer; Vegetable gardens--United States

00:06:04 - Community connection to agriculture

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Partial Transcript: So what was that, I don't know, what was that like to be connected

Segment Synopsis: Lorenz describes the natural transition into working in local agriculture, and how working for a farm better connected him to the Corvallis community. He discusses the early conversations he and his brother had about opening an agricultural business, and different kinds of food production they did. He notes the different lessons he had in managing an agricultural business, and how he grew to appreciate agriculture as he learned more about food systems.

Keywords: Food systems; Local farms; Local food sources; Value-added agribusiness; Value-added agriculture

Subjects: Agribusiness; Agriculture; Community; Community involvement; Corvallis (Or.); Family farms; Farmers' markets; Gardening; Harvest; Local foods; Urban farming

00:10:12 - Focuses on agriculture and food production in the U.S.

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Partial Transcript: Yeah, well and, so do you think that that's- I don't know, it's easy

Segment Synopsis: Lorenz discusses the nature of the Corvallis agricultural community, and how it compares to different national projects working to connect the public to farming. He describes how the approach to food and farming has changed since the industrial revolution. He recounts his observations of farm stands while he was attending college in Vermont, and notes the trends in farmers’ market culture down the Willamette Valley.

Keywords: Farm stands; Farming communities; Food systems; Growing seasons; Mass food production

Subjects: Agriculture; Burlington (Vt.); Community; Corvallis (Or.); Ecological agriculture; FOOD PRODUCTION; Farm to table; Farmers' markets; Industrial revolution; Local foods; Mass production; Oregon--Climate; Sustainability

00:14:49 - Attending college at the University of Vermont

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Partial Transcript: So when you were, you know, getting to the point where

Segment Synopsis: Lorenz explains the impact that playing soccer had on his college choice, and how attending school away from the west coast was also a factor. He notes the various personal benefits of attending the University of Vermont, and how he chose college over joining a ceramics program. He describes his journey towards leaving the soccer program after his first year of college, and how difficult it is to be a collegiate athlete. Lorenz then discusses his area of study in college, and how it related to his business planning with his brother.

Keywords: Ceramics studios; Collegiate soccer; Division 1 athletes; Montessori schools; Sports--Politics; Value-added agriculture; West Coast (U.S.)

Subjects: Agribusiness; Agriculture--education; Business planning; Ceramics; College sports; Collegiate sports; Family businesses; Gap years; Soccer; Soccer--Training; Student-athletes; University of Vermont

00:19:47 - Phil Lorenz's interests in brewing and apiculture

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Partial Transcript: And where was he at school?

Segment Synopsis: Lorenz recalls how his older brother got into home brewing as a teenager, and how they worked together on different brewing projects. He discusses his brother’s work in apiaries and school gardens prior to going to college, and how he connected his love for bees and brewing through studying mead fermentation. He describes the process his brother went through to write and present his thesis on mead varieties, and the diverse work experiences he had during college.

Keywords: Bee pathology; College theses; Edible gardens; Fermentation science; Home brewing; Individual learning styles; Individualized learning; Queen Bee Honey Farm; Sensory analysis; Teenage drinking

Subjects: Academic motivation; Apiculture; Beer and brewing; Berkeley (Calif.); Excitement; Gap years; Hampshire College; Higher education; Honey; Mead; School gardens; Yeast

00:24:38 - Work experiences and interests in college

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Partial Transcript: So, to take a slight side track, and then I have some

Segment Synopsis: Lorenz describes the difficulty of choosing a university to attend, and how he was able to stay motivated in his science degree due to his business goals. He discusses the importance of pottery in his decision to attend college, as well as his extracurricular experiences during it. He then notes the various opportunities he had once he left soccer, emphasizing how he got involved in a rafting tour company during the summer. Lorenz illustrates the culture of the rafting company, and how important the tour experiences were to their customers. He recounts the different roles he took on during the tours, and explains how he tried to bring the company culture into his own business with Nectar Creek.

Keywords: Business--Mission statements; Ceramics studios; Divorce during childhood; Meaderies; National pottery programs; Pottery studios; Rafting guides; Rafting tours

Subjects: Agribusiness; Brotherhood; Business; Ceramics; Ceramics--Study and teaching; Child support; Cooking; Divorce; Family business; Financial Support; International travel; Pottery; Rafting (Sports); Sentiment; Soccer; Solitude; Studying abroad; University of Vermont

00:38:36 - Decision on making mead for Nectar Creek

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Partial Transcript: So I'm curious why you decided to go into mead and not into cider

Segment Synopsis: Lorenz discusses his work experiences at an apple orchard during college, and if making cider was part of the business planning he and his brother did. He describes the interest he and his brother had in opening a brewpub-style business, and how they were inspired by the destination farms on the east coast. He explains how they decided on making mead for their business, along with their considerations of the competition involved to be in the craft beer industry. Lorenz recounts the experiments they did with mead to develop a profitable and unique product. He notes the historical significance of mead, and how it allowed them to join the craft beverage industry while still connecting to agriculture.

Keywords: Apple orchards; Brewpubs; Business competition; College theses; Craft beer; Destination farms; Fermentation science; Market saturation; Shellborn Orchards

Subjects: Agriculture; Apple brandy; Beer and brewing; Business planning; Cider; Competition; Honeybees; Mead; Orchards; Restaurants; Student debt--United States; Yeast

00:47:35 - Choosing a location for the meadery

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Partial Transcript: Did you know you were gonna come to Corvallis?

Segment Synopsis: Lorenz explains why he and his brother decided to establish Nectar Creek in Corvallis, the accessibility they have to natural resources in Oregon. He describes his brother’s personal and professional experiences as a beekeeper, and how these experiences assisted them in funding the business start-up. He recounts their different processes in developing the name Nectar Creek for the business, the quick process of founding the meadery following their college graduations, and the first product they sold.

Keywords: College graduation; Ginger mead; Meaderies; Oregon Honey Products LLC

Subjects: Beehives; Beekeepers; Business planning; Corvallis (Or.); Honey; Mead; Natural resources; Water bodies

00:51:23 - Community impacts of Nectar Creek (skip forward because of glitch)

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Partial Transcript: So, um- food systems, you know, we're teaching people

Segment Synopsis: Lorenz discusses how educating the public about mead is important to their business. He describes how exciting it is to teach people about the beverage, as well as their products. He emphasizes the challenge of balancing promoting their own products and supporting other craft beverage businesses in the community.

Keywords: Business support; Consumer awareness; Feedback loops; Food systems; Honey--Sources; Positive feedback

Subjects: Agriculture--Education; Consumer education; Corvallis (Or.); Ecological agriculture; Education; Feedback; Honey; Mead

00:53:29 - Concluding thoughts

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Partial Transcript: So I know you have school

Segment Synopsis: Lorenz discusses their growth plans for the future, and the benefit of having a larger facility for production and connecting with the public. He expresses his excitement for the new facility they’re building in Philomath, and how it will expand on their opportunities to continue developing as a craft beverage business. He explains the importance of the new facility to continue connecting with the community.

Keywords: Business development; Business growth; Craft beverage industry; Craft beverages

Subjects: Agriculture--Education; Community; Corvallis (Or.); Education; Mead; Philomath (Or.)