Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Shannon Adair and John Spencer Oral History Interview, June 20, 2018

Oregon State University
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00:00:01 - Early Life; Moving to Oregon; Attraction to 1188;

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Partial Transcript: Okay, lets get started...

Segment Synopsis: Shannon is an owner and one of the four main partners of 1188 Brewing. Shannon studied Business Administration at Oregon State University from 1985-89. John grew up in Prineville, and is one of the main brewers at 1188. John was born in West Virginia because his parents were going to school in Morgan Town, and his fathers career in Forestry brought the family to Oregon.
Shannon explains how she came to be involved in brewing as a hobby, and over time she developed a skillset that allowed her to envision creating a brewery, which led to the birth of 1188. John shares that the relaxed environment in a community atmosphere is what he enjoys about brewing for Shannon.

00:12:48 - Opening 1188; Initial Reception; Types of Beer;

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Partial Transcript: So the doors opened in 2013...how did people receive the new business?

Segment Synopsis: Shannon shares that when they first opened 1188, they heard feedback that many people didn't think it was going to work in John Day. When they first opened John wasn't with the company, so he got the experience 1188 as a consumer originally. He shares that it was very enjoyable to have a new location to enjoy locally brewed beer and hang out within the community.
Given that John Day was coined as a "Coors Light Town', she explains their approach to brewing beer, by making what they like. They don't brew many beers similar to Coors Light, but they have a few that they consider gateway beers that introduce new customers to, and ultimately get them intrigued to try their various flavors.

00:23:36 - Grains; Local Ingredients; Appealing to the Community; Women in Beer

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Partial Transcript: What about grains? Do you feel like the there is a local grain industry?

Segment Synopsis: Shannon talks about how they buy the majority of their grains locally. Their intention is to buy as much local ingredients and supplies as possible to help stimulate the local economy. John shares about the process of understanding the desire of the consumers, and how they take in feedback in order to create beers that will appeal to the local community. Shannon explains how John has become an integral part of crafting desirable beers that positively impact their perception within the community.
Shannon goes on to elaborate on being a woman in the brewing industry. Due to her background in home brewing, she understands the brewing process, and the mechanics that goes into creating a craft brew. She has never felt out of place within the industry, and shares how strongly she feels about the necessity of women in brewing.

00:34:25 - Family Business; Working with her husband; Marketing; Social Media;

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Partial Transcript: What about being part of a family business?

Segment Synopsis: Shannon speaks on the mechanics of running a family business, and shares how good of a relationship she and her sister has, making it an enjoyable experience. It does bring some challenges that they didn't expect. In the first year of the brewery her sister was still living in Bend, which required them to travel into town nearly every weekend. But since John has been brought on board, her sister and her husband now function more as silent partners, allowing John to pick up many of the duties they formerly performed. She then talks about the working relationship with her husband, explaining that it can be hard, but they mostly do different types of work, resulting in minimal friction.
They move on to speak about their marketing approach, explaining how they appeal to the local community, as well as travelers who are passing through. They have increased their presence on social media and various other facets of the internet, which they have experienced success through. John says that being in a small town, word of mouth is one of their strongest promoters.

00:45:38 - Next 5 Years; Projections for the Future; Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: What are you excited about?

Segment Synopsis: Shannon shares that she is excited about the taproom and brewery, and seeing the company grow into its potential in the next 5 years. John is excited about the new equipment getting hooked up, the distilling, and the new taproom. They have plans to continue to expand, which will entail more space, new employees, and a larger brewing operation.
Shannon concludes the interview by elaborating on other breweries that exist within the state, and how as a newer brewery it is helpful to have a frame of reference to build a viable and successful brewery.