TIAH EDMUNSON-MORTON: Ok, go ahead, name!
GUY SEGHETTI: I am Guy Seghetti, born July 1, '51. We're doing this in Roseburg,
Oregon, and today is the sixth of October.
TEM: See? That's the tough part.
TEM: That was a good addition. Where were you born?
GS: I was actually born in Bozeman, Montana. And my father was a veterinarian,
but he did mostly research, especially on sheep. So I don't know, we might have
a sheep named after us. But then he got a position in Fort Collins and he passed
away when I was five, so Mom brought us back to Corvallis where she grew up. So
pretty much went through public schools in Corvallis.
TEM: What did your mom's family do when they were in Corvallis?
GS: My grandfather worked for Wilson Motors when they worked on Model Ts and I
have pictures of him and his motorcycle club sitting out in front of some
building, probably on Second Street, on a Harley. But then he mainly rode
Indians. So they just looked like bicycles with a gas tank.
TEM: Was the Wilson Motors on Second? Was it downtown?
GS: I think it was always downtown on Second Street, yes.
GS: And so he worked there forever. And my grandmother was primarily a
homemaker, but I think she did work a little bit after all the kids were raised
and out of the house as a housekeeper on campus, but very briefly.
TEM: So did your mom share things that she remembered about growing up in
Corvallis? She would have been...
GS: She was born in 1914 and there's a house right across the street from the
00:02:00Rain Shed on Eleventh Street that she was born in. And they moved around the
corner on basically Twelve and Fillmore, and they owned all the property that -
I'm not sure what the new incarnation of the high school is - but they owned
some of that property. But my grandparents were never investors or anything like
that, so they kind of moved around and never had a lot of wealth. But growing up
there, we lived right next to my grandmother. And we would walk into town, and
actually on Twelfth and Fillmore, there were wooden plank sidewalks.
GS: You know, back in the early '50s. And so, when we walked to town, she would
point out that where that house was a barn, or this is where we used to live. So
I think maybe that's where my love for history started, just all these
recollections of walking to town with my grandmother.
TEM: So was town, downtown?
TEM: Was that where [there was] a grocery store, shopping, that kind of thing?
GS: Pretty much. My mom worked for J. C. Penney's, which is where I think
Starbucks is now.
TEM: Oh, Okay.
GS: The opposite corner would have been Richey's Market. And that was just
always convenient, so she would always shop there and then head home.
TEM: Is that where Many Hand's Trading is now, like across [from] Albright's
Pharmacy? Is that what it used to be called?
GS: Albright's Pharmacy is over there just up from the Whiteside going on Third
00:04:00Street. But no, this would have been Fifth and Monroe, just right across from
the Courthouse, next to the Benton Hotel.
TEM: Yes, Ok. Now it's clicking. It's been too long since I've been there! [Laughs.]
GS: It's been a long time. Since my mom passed in 2007, I don't get up there
near as much, so I have to stop and think about the streets.
TEM: What was it like to grow up in Corvallis?
GS: It was, you know, like I said earlier to you, I didn't own a car until I was
26, so I rode my bicycle. Had an old Schwinn, and rode to school. I lived very
close to the high school where I think Linus Pauling Junior High is now. It was
00:05:00Highland View. So I rode my bicycle to that. I mean, I rode - I could probably
still outrun cops going through alleys and backstreets. Not that I would. But I
got everywhere on a bicycle very quickly. And we were just free-range kids, you
know? And you didn't think about that kind of stuff. And I think about now, I'd
probably get throttled just walking! I went to Washington Grade School.
TEM: Which was...?
GS: I'm not sure what it is now. It's in back of the Cannery development. There
used to actually be a cannery there on Ninth Street. And then it was the Cannery
Mall, and I'm not sure what incarnation it is now, but [it was] tucked back in
there. But to get there, we had always gone through this person's backyard,
between fences through this little path. You know, no one ever thought twice
00:06:00about doing it and never got hassled by the people who owned the property.
Crossed Ninth Street without a crossing guard or a parent or anything, and
somehow I managed to survive.
TEM: Yeah. What were the things that you liked to do with your friends?
GS: I kind of did stuff at school. And at home I was kind of...I wouldn't say I
was a loner, but after school we just, maybe, played ball or horsed around. It
wasn't anything organized. Then in high school I was on the gymnastics team, and
so that occupied a lot of my time.
TEM: Yeah. Was Ninth Street - I mean obviously it's more developed now - but was
00:07:00that a shopping area, was that a main thoroughfare for stores?
GS: Not when I was growing up. Probably the shopping ended, oh, where Shari's is
now. And I'm trying to think what was out that way. Uh, not much. And then it
started getting developed more in the late '60s, early '70s. Yeah, there used to
be this chicken processing plant in back of the school, and - we weren't
supposed to - we'd climb over the fence and go chase chickens during recess time.
TEM: That's the free-range. [Laughs.]
GS: Yeah, that was the free-range part of the chicken processing plant. [Laughs.]
TEM: So you're pretty close to campus. What was the relationship with campus,
00:08:00did you ever go up to campus?
GS: In high school I'd go and use the library quite a bit and sort of hang out.
Because back then, gymnastics was really young, and so we couldn't find a lot of
articles on just how to do different techniques and moves and stuff. And so this
friend and I would pop through the microfiche files and just look for any random
articles we could find about gymnastics and techniques and stuff.
TEM: Like in newspapers?
GS: Like newspapers or books or articles, or just kind of obscure stuff. Used to
hang out at the library quite a bit. Growing up, you know, you'd go through
campus and it was kind of just part of town, you didn't really think much of it.
I mean it was great open spaces and, yeah, a really comfortable town to grow up
in. I mean the green areas. Probably my favorite area where I used to actually
00:09:00go and read, hang out and play is Franklin Park. And they had those huge
sequoias there, and [I'd] prop up against those and read, hang out.
TEM: So that was really close to where you grew up?
GS: Yeah, like two blocks away.
TEM: So when you were in school, what were some of the, extracurricularly as you
started to age, you got into gymnastics so scholastically, what were some of the
things you were interested in as you were growing up?
GS: I probably wasn't the greatest student. I was curious, but not a hard-core
academic. I did like all my social science classes and science classes. And one
year, I wanted to take a science class, because I was kind of on a science
00:10:00"track" I guess you would call it back then. I'm not sure. But the only thing
that was available was this kind of low-end science class that was mainly for
kids struggling with science. But it was kind of the only thing available and he
says, "Eh, take it." The teacher was a great guy. And it was one of my favorite
classes. We did taxonomy, we went through the whole taxonomy, we always went
outside, made little grids and looked for bugs. Birdwatching, anything. Dixie
Creek was right there, [we'd] just check out stuff around there for a class
period, and then go on for the rest of the day.
TEM: So kind of observational, more practical...
GS: More practical observational thing.
TEM: So did that influence then when you were thinking about after college? Did
00:11:00that kind of give you a bug for...wow, that was a bad pun. [Laughs.]
GS: It was a good pun. Uh, not really. You know, I was kind of always a
here-and-now kind of person and just kind of looked at what was going on at my
time of life and didn't try to decide where or what kind of direction I would
take then. It wasn't like I had these five-year goals or this great plan of
being this or that. I just knew that I was going to college because that was
what was expected of me. My mother always said, "You're going to college but
don't be a professional student like your father was." So that was kind of
impregnated in me. So I actually gravitated towards art history, but then when I
saw how academic that was, it's like "Oh man, I'll really disappoint Mother if I
become an art historian." I didn't really think that, but I pretty much think
probably in the back of my head I can thank my mother for planting that seed
00:12:00back there. Me rotting away in the back of some museum archives.
GS: But then I got into anthropology, so kind of continued that love of history
and human endeavors. And so then after college, combined with gymnastics and
that background, I just kind of had a knack for working with people. I worked at
a couple of gymnastics clubs and kind of just gravitated towards education.
TEM: Mm-hm. What about, so stepping back a little bit to those final years of
high school, what year did you graduate from high school? '69?
TEM: So, what was kind of the social, cultural climate in Corvallis like at that
time? Obviously nationally it was a special time.
GS: We always jokingly called ourselves the last of the beer drinkers. So herbs
00:13:00came in afterwards. But I look at my class, either side of it, and we were all
kind of scholar-athlete-hippies. Steve Losi who is a principle at the high
school, his little brother I think coached, Mike Riley was a year younger than I
was, Bob Gilder, a professional golfer. Oh my gosh, I'm drawin' a blank, [but]
we had a Nobel Prize winner in physics in our class. A lot of people went on. A
lot of teachers. But at least from my perspective there didn't seem to be a lot
of cliques. You seemed to be able to move between different groups. So that was
always, I guess, refreshing, at least from my perspective. I don't know if that
00:14:00is really accurate or not.
TEM: I like that description of the scholar-hippie-athletes. That seems kind of
like Corvallis now. So what about the national influence of politics on
Corvallis? Were you aware...?
GS: I was aware. '68 was definitely pivotal thing around the world, and
Corvallis, as insulated as they probably wanted to be, wasn't. So that election
year was very contested, and Bobby Kennedy came to town, right before going on
to LA. So that whole series of events. My gymnastics coach was an African
American, and so that gave me a perspective on what was going on at that time.
00:15:00That was also the time when some OSU athletes showed up to spring practice with
a little facial hair and Dee Andros went ballistic and that was kind of a big issue.
TEM: So what was the chatter? So that was happening when you were still in high
TEM: So what was the sort of chatter amongst high-schoolers about that? What was
GS: They thought it was kind of ridiculous. And I remember in my modern problems
class we had some people from OSU talk about that. And - [short pause] - I'm
embarrassed to admit this, but these friends and I - you know, it was like
preaching to the choir to us - but we came to class that day, and we just had
this wild hair and we just became Devil's advocate. And I think these guys from
campus just wanted to take us out back and throttle us because we were such
TEM: You were agitators. [Laughs.]
GS: Yeah. And that's what I see as I have taught and look back at my high school
and my college career and all that, is that that sense of subversion is kind of
lost on kids today. They don't know really how to be subversive. I think that I
was always clean-cut, I didn't wear tie-dye, my jeans were always patched and
clean. But my hair didn't lie flat like most athletes. It was always quite
curly. So that always made people take notice and forced them to actually get to
know me as a person.
GS: I dated this gal whose - they lived in Adair Village and that's when it was
military installation - and I went to some function and there were all these
00:17:00retired WWII vets. And I was talking to this one, and he just kind of
interrupted me one time, and he goes, "You know, you're the only person that can
get away with wearing your hair like that." [Laughs.] So I took that as a
left-handed compliment, but I thought that was quite funny for him to say.
TEM: Like, it's just my hair.
GS: It's my hair.
TEM: So what about the larger influence of agriculture or the accessibility of
food in the area? What kind of influence, or did that have an influence, on your life?
GS: You know, it probably did, but I wasn't aware of it. I do remember [this]:
my mom grew up in the Depression, and she said, the one thing about living in
Corvallis is that people had food. There was always a garden somewhere, and so
00:18:00people ate. But she worked at the Whiteside Theater. Back then you could pay
your dime or nickel and sit there all day, they wouldn't kick you out after each
showing. So it would be cheaper to go to the movie all day and just sit and nap
and whatever, than to pay for...heating. But that's the one thing she did say:
there was always food around.
TEM: Was there an awareness either community-wide or in your family of that kind
of relationship between the university as a research facility and the rest of
agriculture? This obviously becomes something later in your life, where you make
that connection. [Laughs.]
TEM: Now we have the farmer's market, we talk about local food, we talk about
how far something was grown. You know, kids these days, I hear more about that.
GS: I think Richey's was locally owned, and then there was a market there on
Ninth Street. I'm not even sure what is there. Rich-Maid Dairy, was that [it]?
There was a dairy market there on Ninth.
TEM: Like Ninth and Buchanan? That area?
GS: Not that far up, it was mainly...oh, there's a taco place there. Right where
that is was another locally owned thing and I had a neighbor who worked there.
So I'd go there and just kind of hang out in the produce section and peel onions
for him and chat. Looking back, I was kind of a weird little kid. But I think
local grocery stores like that picked up where you can get unique things at the
grocery store. I think about the things that we ate as kids, and I look for them
00:20:00today on the shelves. We used to eat spinach pasta all the time. Now it's high
end and in the frozen section, but it used to be Mission, IGA, spinach pasta.
TEM: That's interesting!
GS: And another thing, which is probably getting ahead of ourselves in terms of
beer, but the...I think it was Hamm's or Rainier, Heidelberg, one of those
Washington breweries, used to have in the spring [something] called Bock beer.
And my mother would explain it as, it was like at the end of the season they
didn't have enough beer to blend to make it taste like the regular stuff, and so
they had this Bock beer, which was very malty, very hardy. And it was more like
00:21:00a craft beer that you get today. And she loved it. But she didn't like to drink
a lot. She liked a nice quenching thing. That woman could nurse an eight-ounce
glass of beer all night and leave half of it. And one time after I had turned 21
and was drinking with her, I questioned whether she was my mother or not.
Because if it's within arm's length it's gonna be gone. But she would, at night
after working all day at Penney's - she was an alterationist, seamstress - she
would just feel like a beer. She would drink half and then give me the other
half. And so I never grew up in this culture that thought beer was something
mysterious. It was just a quenching beverage and that was it.
TEM: Mm-hm. Then you had your fill and that was done.
GS: That was it.
TEM: What about brothers and sisters? I forgot to ask that early on.
GS: I have an older sister. She's five years older than I am, so kind of by the
00:22:00time I was in high school - actually mid junior high - she got married and moved
on. She lived in Eugene. We saw her a bit. So I kind of was an only child. And
she started out as a dietician and worked on campus, but then she kind of became
a jack-of-all-trades. She's an excellent stained glass [artist], in fact most of
the stained glass you see in the house she's done. She dabbled in neon glass.
The list goes on.
TEM: So, you're getting towards the end of high school. And then what was -
maybe not your five-year plan - but what was your six-month plan? [Laughs.] Graduate.
GS: Graduate! I was offered a scholarship to Utah, so I knew I was going to be
00:23:00competing in Salt Lake for four years, at least. And then that gave me the
ability to be a little more...since I wasn't facing bills, or college tuition, I
could be a little more lax with what I was doing. And try to tie it up junior,
TEM: Did you get a full ride?
GS: Pretty much. Between a basic opportunity grant and a books and tuition it
was pretty much paid for. And I got a stipend for housing too, so I was not in
debt when I left college.
TEM: So what was that like to move from [Corvallis]? I mean, you'd lived your
entire life in this sort of Corvallis bubble that continues to be the Corvallis
bubble a bit. To move then to Salt Lake City, what was that adjustment like?
GS: It really wasn't terrible. Salt Lake City in the '60s was pretty
conservative, pretty...basically a big Corvallis. It wasn't that cosmopolitan.
You know, there were different stores and things. And being on campus. The
unique thing about the campus population, even though its daytime population
was, say, 30,000, the dorms I think only held about 6,000. And there was a big
dance theater company at the school in Salt Lake, and so these East Coast kids,
if they couldn't get into those East Coast dance schools, they came to Utah. So
the dorms were filled with dancers, skiers and athletes. So not quite the, your
00:25:00local Salt Lake Mormon population.
GS: Some of my closest friends are the people I met in my first year of college,
and I still keep in contact with them. If you absolutely needed a class, you
took it winter quarter in the afternoon, because the campus was deserted. And
you would see kids after lunch go get their ski stuff on, put their skis over
their shoulder and hitch-hike up to Alta or Snowbird. And daytime weekday passes
were next to nothing. It was just incredibly cheap to ski. And so they did. But
I never got that bug. [Laughs.]
TEM: Well we can't talk about Salt Lake without talking about the religious
00:26:00influence of the state. What was that like, being in Salt Lake with the...with the?
GS: I always think back, and I think their restrictive alcohol laws probably
encouraged more abuse. Because you could go to any bar, say, just to like
Squirrels in Corvallis, although we went to the Oregon Museum which was really nice.
TEM: Where was that?
GS: The Oregon Museum used to be called Price's. This is another childhood
memory, believe it or not. It used to be on Fourth Street, across from Benton
Hotel. It was this little narrow thing, I'm not sure what it is now. It broke my
heart when it became an ice cream parlor or something.
TEM: Oh, is that where the Baskin Robbins is?
GS: Could be, I don't know. But it just breaks my heart to know it's not Price's anymore.
GS: And then in college it was more of a local bar. So we did have a lot of
college kids that played there. But growing up, I'd go downtown, visit my mom.
She'd take me to Price's for a hamburger on Saturdays. But she would have to get
back to work and so I'd be sitting on the front table. And the bartender's, you
know...I wasn't supposed to be in there at all. And so I'd finish my burger and
head on down to the Whiteside and go to the matinee and then walk home. And so
then it used to be the Oregon Museum.
TEM: Was it a bar then?
GS: It was a bar then, and they had nice old coolers so the beer was always cold
TEM: I wonder if that's where Francesco's, the gelato place, is now.
GS: Could be.
TEM: That might be. It's long and skinny. That's interesting. [I'll have] to get
00:28:00a map out. [Laughs.]
GS: Yeah, really!
TEM: We should have had a map. I should have thought to bring a map.
GS: But back to Salt Lake, so if there was a bar like that, just a beer bar,
since they have a liquor license you could go to the liquor store and drink
00:29:00whisky and drink boilermakers all night if you wanted. And so that was way
better than buying a mini bottle and that.
TEM: So there were liquor stores.
GS: There were liquor stores. And actually, wine wasn't sold in grocery stores
either. To get wine and alcohol you had to go to the liquor store.
TEM: Was beer the same?
GS: Mm, not so much. Sometimes we would go to the store to get some beer or
wine. Wine actually...they did sell wine in the grocery stores. And then every
now and then somebody would go to the liquor store and pick up a fifth of
something. But that wasn't that regular.
TEM: So beer was three-two. Were there imports available?
GS: Well, you see back then, because of the weird prohibition laws - after
prohibition, instead of having a national thing, each state did their thing - so
my understanding was that all the big breweries, in order to sell to all the
states, just kept their beer at three-two. And there wasn't that big a selection
- you know, we thought it was a big deal to go to up to Tumwater, and go through
the tour so you could get Olympia Dark. And wait until spring when the Bock beer
came out. That was as good as it got.
TEM: That's so interesting. You think about reflecting on beer culture now. The
on-demand variety that you wouldn't have to make a trip to Tumwater [for]. [Laughs.]
TEM: I haven't been to Tumwater. Maybe it was a good trip. But it wouldn't be a
GS: No, it really wasn't. And my father's parents lived in Tacoma, so you'd have
to go through Olympia to get to Tacoma.
TEM: [Laughs.] So what are some of the other memories you have about being in
college? What were you studying?
GS: First I started off as art history and then went to anthropology. The anthro
department was this really close knit, really great group of people. I mean,
they had some big guns. My favorite professor was this Professor Dibble. He was
this diminutive man. He had polio as a kid, but he was like the authority on
00:31:00Aztecs. In the '30s he was in Mexico going to different bookstores, different
places and collecting these old codices and then anything written in Nahuatl. So
he started compiling all these codices. And it was in Nahuatl, Spanish and
English. And so there's this encyclopedic set of books called the Florentine
Codex, which he compilated and put together, and it's just the source for
studying Aztec culture.
TEM: Where did that end up? Did they save it at the library?
GS: I mean, I'm sure there's copies of it all over the place.
TEM: That's a pretty amazing original resource to have.
GS: But he would see me hitchhiking and always pick me up to go to school, in
this big ol' Chrysler with these funny taillights on it. Very, very
approachable. Very nice. And then you always knew when a good story was coming
on, because he would get this sheepish grin, and he'd just kind of put his hand
up to his mouth, and not really give eye contact.
GS: There was this one story he told about how in Aztec culture...I'm not sure.
The severed arm, I think, of a woman who died in childbirth, or something like
that, or a voyeur, was powerful medicine. And thieves would try to get arms, and
you could go into the courtyard and hit the ground. And people would freeze, and
00:33:00so they'd go in and rob the place. So this kid raises his hand, and he says
"Really, people did that? That's pretty gullible." And he says, "Yeah, people
are pretty gullible." He says, "One time," and he gets this look, and he says,
"One time I brought in some peyote to class, about thirty. And it wasn't even
enough peyote to get one person high let alone thirty. And so I divvied it up."
And he says, "I can remember 'em stumbling up to the park building." [Laughs.]
And he says, "Yeah, so people are pretty gullible."
TEM: And nobody in class trusted him after that. [Laughs.]
GS: [Laughs.] Nobody trusted him implicitly.
TEM: Oh my gosh! So when did your interest in science, how did you end up back
in the hopyard? How did you end up back in Oregon?
GS: Ok, well, I actually started - we were talking about favorite bars - and the
Peacock used to be just this bar where only the pensioners from the Julian Hotel
00:34:00and the Corvallis Hotel hung out. And there was this woman named Vi who my mom
knew. I don't know how she knew her, but she was the cook there. And every now
and then Gail Nickerson would go in and have a drink after work, and my mom
might have been in there and had a drink too. So she got to know Gail and Vi,
and so Gail told my mom that they needed a dishwasher up at the lab. And so I
needed a job, and so that was my introduction to the hop lab: washing dishes.
TEM: So you had moved back, you were done with school?
GS: This was in high school.
TEM: Oh! Ok.
GS: So in high school I got the job, after school and in the summertime. So
after school - it was probably my junior year, probably that spring - washing
00:35:00labware and stuff. And then in the summertime they kind of moved me out to the
hopyard, and so I started doing stuff there. And then...
TEM: I think my dates are off in my head. So, you started, the hop work was
while you were still in high school, before. But then you continued?
GS: Yeah, yeah. I'd come back every summer and work in the hopyards or up in the
lab, pretty much wherever they needed me. So there was fourth floor Weniger
hopyards, and then also the greenhouses. I guess they're still there, up on,
like, 30th Street. Yeah.
TEM: Ok, so, my dates were off in my head. This is why I should actually consult
00:36:00my list. [Laughs.] I was not looking down. So you start in high school. What is
it like to be working on something that goes into beer? Did people talk about it?
GS: Like I said, growing up, I'd sample beer and stuff. It wasn't a big weekend.
I didn't go out with friends and get drunk or anything like that. I really was
not that way at all, ever. It was just a job. It was neat. It was kind of cool
to say, "Yeah, I worked for the US Brewers Association." Really, I had worked
for USDA agriculture research, but it was funded by the USB. It was like, "Oh,
00:37:00do you make beer?" It's like, "Nah." Stink up the place with...
GS: Yeah! [Laughs.] That comes later.
TEM: So you started in '68, which is a pretty important [time]. That's right
pretty much when the Cascade is almost out...
GS: Right. 56-13
TEM: Mm-hm. That's it, it gets stuck in your head. So what was the department
culture, the staff culture? What were the people like who were working there?
GS: You know, like a said, everybody on that project was just salt-of-the-earth.
Really approachable, not brainiacs. People talked about Jack Horner and Al
Haunold, but for my money Gail was really the workhorse of that operation. She
00:38:00did all the chemical analysis, all the computations, all those things. She was
right in there in the mix of things. And so she was the person I had the most
contact with, and she was just a hoot and really fun to work with. So it was
just a very casual experience. And then she started easing me into collecting
samples. We either did a solvent extraction or a boiling. We had these big giant
Erlenmeyer flasks, and all these hops. And so I'd have to come in in the morning
and dump all these hops in this wastebasket over the drain and get those ready.
And there was this funky machine, it was about as big as this table, or about
half as big. And it had these long metric flasks stoppered with the solvent
00:39:00solution with these hops. And this thing would agitate 'em all night long, but
the thing was made out of wooden leaf springs from, like, some buggy. [Laughs.]
I mean, that's how old this piece of machinery was. But it worked. And so we'd
have to let that settle, then we'd pipe out whatever we needed into a sample.
And then I'd either run samples on the mass spectrometer or sometimes I'd be in
charge of putting samples through the gas chromatograph. Even though I wasn't
trained as a lab tech that way they had confidence that I wouldn't screw it up
TEM: Gail has called it the era of bucket science.
TEM: There obviously were technological advances, but you were still using
equipment that maybe wasn't designed for it. But it worked and so it was fine.
GS: Yeah. We had these early HP calculators that you could go down to the store
now and buy for ten dollars, which were fifteen hundred back then or something,
and did all these things. The computer was like this and had this little punch
thing. It was always nice to have to do anything on the computer, because back
then there were these huge mainframes that had to be air-conditioned. [Laughs.]
I think fifth floor Weniger had the computers, and so going up there was a treat
in the summertime. Because our lab was not [air-conditioned.] We had all those
things boiling off hops and different things cooking.
TEM: So the lab was in Weniger?
GS: Weniger, yeah. One of the labs. Because Jack Horner had his over - I'm not
00:41:00even sure what hall it is - but over kind of by the greenhouses.
TEM: Mm-hm. Wiegand? And I guess there's Crop Science. And there's the USDA lab.
GS: But who knows what it was back then. And also we made a little commercial
dryer, but out at Hyslop is where we had hop dryers out there. And then we had
this little machine that would make you a one-pound bale at the same psi of a
TEM: So does that allow you to then test how tightly it was packed?
GS: That was to send samples out. But we wanted to duplicate what a commercial
00:42:00bale would be like, so they calibrated this thing and it would put it into these
one-pound bales. So they usually go to cold storage. Or they would do tests just
sitting out in open storage, and then cold storage, and then we'd send samples
to the different participating breweries.
TEM: What was the relationship like, were there people from those participating
breweries coming to campus?
GS: When I look at the way they tout those guys as the father of craft beer,
that it was their focus to make hops so that all these microbreweries could have
something. But I think really they wanted to develop a hop that was commercially
00:43:00viable that lessened the dependence on English Fuggles and things like that. And
so I think AB was a big promoter of trying to develop a Fuggle that would grow
in America. And so mainly, that was what Cascade was all about, was developing a
Fuggle-type hop that had great yield and good pickability. I mean from a growing
standpoint, that hop is great. Just these tight little cones, they didn't
shatter in the machine and you had a great yield. Very leafy, not that leafy
matter. It was a great commercial success in that respect, but then it just kind
TEM: So Cascade releases in '71?
GS: '70, '71, something around there.
TEM: Yeah. So, is there like a buzz around the lab? Did people know that this
00:44:00was gonna be...
GS: You know, they knew it was a good hop. And the way I remember the story
going is that AB was kind of interested in it but they really weren't sold on
it. And then they asked to see it again and the only thing we had was this thing
that had been sitting in the corner of the lab forever. And so we send it to
'em, and at that time they loved it. So it kind of started whenever we baled up
hops, we'd always through a bunch in the corner of the lab because we always
knew that AB would prefer the ones that weren't that fresh.
TEM: So did it mellow out over time?
GS: I don't know. [Laughs.] It seems like they would degrade. Maybe there was
some guy that was too sensitive to the hop smell. I have no [idea]. So yeah, I
think when AB started taking note of it, I think that's when we realized that
00:45:00was gonna be a big thing. And the commercial guys like it. There was this other
kid and I - kid, he was two years older than I and I thought of him as an adult
back then - but he kind of worked on the farm, drove a tractor and stuff. And
there was some guy who was kind of manager of the hopyard, and he would take
these afternoon bathroom breaks for God knows how long, and things wouldn't
really operate all that efficiently. So Lynn would go out and make some extra
money working on the weekends, and sometimes I would go too. And we just
realized there was way better ways that we could streamline the process. I mean,
00:46:00we'd go and work four hours, but they thought it would take eight hours to work,
or six hours or something. So we kind of had the time-clock. And they start
seeing how good things look when Lynn and I were out in the hopyards, that they
let this guy and this gal go. And these guys of course grudgingly left. [Laughs
quietly.] And they said, "This hopyard won't ever succeed with these two kids."
But we got that place working so well. And this back to the visitation thing -
is that the growers would organize this trip, and so all the growers would come
down and see where their money was going. Not so much the brewers, but the
00:47:00growers would come in a big bus because they didn't trust them to drive
themselves. [Laughs.] But after this one trip, after Lynn and I had total
control of the hopyard that Al came in and took us out to lunch, and was just
singing our praises because the growers, for the first time in all their trips
down to Corvallis, said that the hopyard looked like commercial production. And
so he was just tickled pink at that.
TEM: Which I would imagine would have an impact on how it would grow in a
TEM: So this is the test yard on Highway-20?
TEM: So, now the experimental yard is one hop, different hop, different hop,
different hop. Where you growing, like, rows of what became Cascade? [Laughs.]
GS: There was one section that was one hop, different varieties, also male and
female. And we had the seedless yard. You turned there on Peoria Road, and right
at the end there was a one-acre hopyard, a seedless yard.
TEM: So like on the south side of Highway-20? Or still on the north side of Highway-20?
GS: It would be on the south side of Highway-20, just where that intersection
is, you just make that turn and then it just makes a bend to head out to Peoria.
GS: And there was a little one-acre plot down there by the river and that was
the seedless yard. Because most of the commercial production was seedless,
that's where if we were growing quantity we'd grow there. But we did have areas
00:49:00in the big yard where we'd grow a lot of the same product.
TEM: So at that time a lot of other famous hops are being developed. So I guess
I look at it now in hindsight, that that was such an amazing time in hops history.
GS: I think the way Gail described it is that it was like bucket science. It was
probably the way corn was twenty years ago. It's just trial and error. We'd go
and put these little - they were actually like French loaf bread bags - over the
male things, collect all the pollen, send 'em through sieves, collect that
pollen. Al would be out there, taking the pollen, dusting it on the female
plants, make his cross selections. Yeah, that's the way it worked.
TEM: What are some of the things you remember about Al?
GS: Oh, I loved Al. He was a great storyteller, just, like I said, the salt of
the earth. But sometimes there was a naiveté about him in kind of the
real-world terms. But it's pretty obvious with a last name like Seghetti that
I'm Italian. And he was talking one day, we were working and doing so stuff. I
mean, you wouldn't think as a geneticist he would pick up a hoe and help us, but
he would. And we'd do all the same kind of stuff. So I was working with him one
day, and he was talking about his wife. And I said, "Well she's Italian!" And he
goes, "Oh, no, she's just Sicilian," and that just kind of cracked me up.
[Laughs.] But the one story I remember is that he grew up in Austria, and he was
00:51:00talkin' and he says, "Yeah, at the end of war, they were desperate and they
rolled into my town and rounded up every able-bodied young kid, threw us in the
back of this truck and headed towards the front lines. But in Austria those
hills were steep and that truck was old, and," he says, "it was like lugging to
get down up that hill." And so this friend of his from the town decided to help
him out, so he jumped out the back and hid in the forest until the war was over.
So he says, "I have the dubious distinction of being conscripted into the Hitler
Youth Corps and going AWOL on the same day." [Laughs.] But it was just kind of
little stories. We were talking about his family, and one day he came in. He
00:52:00says, "God-dang kids." Something was wrong with the TV. And he says, "Having
seven kids, I'm smart enough to tape the control panel." And there was no
picture, and so he calls the reservice guy out and the guy looks at it and turns
up the brightness thing. [Laughs.] Usually when we had all the lab work done,
and before things ripened up before harvest, there was a week of slack time, and
we'd always take a trip up to the Willamette Valley, go to the different growers
and look at the hopyards. And we had this old Chevy wagon, green, "USDA" and
"Government" emblazoned on the door. And we pull up to this one hop yard, and
there's all these workers busy, and by the time we shut the car off, Al says,
"Is it break time or something? Is it lunch? Where did all these workers go?"
00:53:00Al! [Laughs.] They saw the government car, and they probably thought we were
immigration, and that just kind of didn't even cross his mind.
TEM: Was that an issue?
GS: Until that day I didn't really ever thing about it. The Woodburn area is a
big hop producing area, and then there was this junkyard in Donald I think it
was. And for some reason, they were the only place in the world that had parts
for this ancient hop-picker. It was this portable hop-picker and I don't know if
it's still out in the yard or where it is, but you could pull it. You could
00:54:00actually pull it through the yard, but we would just pull it to a convenient
place and make a stationary picker. But the picking fingers would break, and
they were the only ones that stocked picking fingers. Somehow I figured out how
to use this jig to replace all the things, so for a while I was kind of golden
in terms of job security, because I was the only one that knew how to replace
the picking fingers on the hop machine. So I had to go up there frequently and
meet some of these little codgers and, you know, and that old hop-picker. So
this other kid and I drove up there, and had to drive a tractor up there, up to
Silverton, I think.
TEM: Wait, you drove a tractor from Corvallis to Silverton?
GS: Well I didn't, I drove the pickup.
TEM: Ok. But someone else did!
GS: Someone drove the tractor. Then this farmer, this hop-grower, was getting
rid of his old Weisenmiller hop-picker, donated it. And so we had to haul it
back, but you couldn't just haul this picker down the freeway. So we were going
all the backroads - it took us the entire day to get from Silverton back to
Corvallis. Going through Buena Vista and all those little roads. The one time we
did have to go through a little section of Salem and across that bridge until we
could get over the Willamette. But I was in the flashing slow-moving vehicle
thing. So we were driving this just ancient rust-bucket back to Corvallis from
Silverton. And that was our parts.
TEM: Seems to me you'd ride your bike faster.
GS: Oh! You could! Yeah. [Laughs.]
TEM: [Laughs.] So what are some of the memories you have of the growers?
GS: Well, you know, they had been in the business for a long time and, again,
all those guys seemed to be just really...salt-of-the-earth. They weren't full
of themselves, they were just farmers. Very approachable, you could talk to them
about what fertilizer they were using, and stuff like that. We would ask them
for suggestions about how we could make our yard look a little more commercial,
and things like that. So we didn't really have that much connection except for
on those visits. But sometimes by the time they got to us they were a little
three sheets to the wind. So they liked to drink. They liked to sample their product.
TEM: Did you guys brew at all?
GS: You know, what got us into brewing, brewing on campus, is that after I
00:57:00turned 21 (I think it was probably going on before that) we'd get this little
jingly bottle or box in the mail. And Stroh's and Schlitz, those two were really
good about, when we'd send them hops that we thought had potential, and they'd
do a pilot brew, they would always be good about sending us a six-pack back with
the results. And so when that package came in, we'd lock the doors, close down
about four, break out the beakers start doing our own little sample test.
TEM: Sensory analysis.
GS: Exactly. [Laughs.] And there was this one that we really liked. It was just
so good, and we checked what hop it was and it had this incredible alpha-beta
00:58:00ratio on it. But this plant [gesturing to a small houseplant] was probably more
vigorous than it was, so it was not a commercially viable thing. But we kept it
around just because of the alpha-beta ratio. So that fall we were able to get
like a pound of it. And so then we got some malt. Gerding's, they were downtown,
and you could get malt for making beer. And then back then it was all barn
permitting, so it was all lager kind of stuff, but we had a walk-in cooler that
had a lot of space, and a five-gallon carboy, and so we brewed up a batch of
that. And it seemed like it took us forever to lager that down. But, oh man, it
was good. And then we bottled. Fortunately, there was caps, and you could get
00:59:00cork bottles to cap in. And later it would be the champagne bottles. So I
sampled some. My friends were like, oh man. There was this one friend of mine
who was back from Germany, and he was just all over it. So that's how we started
brewing. We kind of did it because we could do it.
TEM: Yeah. So did you catch a brew bug outside the university?
GS: And we'd have fresh hops, and some people were startin' to do it. There was
a place in Eugene that had some hop-pellets and stuff. And one day we were asked
to clean out the cooler. So we had this pick-up bed full of fresh hops. So we
drove them up to Eugene to this guy, and he was just like "Oh man."
GS: OSHA came through and noticed all of our refrigerators weren't explosion
01:00:00proof, because of were the light switches on. But we were brewing in one of
them, so the guy says, "Well, you're going to have to replace this." And one of
the guys goes, "Well, can we take it out to the hop-yard so the workers can put
their lunches in it?" And he says, "Well yeah, that's no problem, as long as
you're not putting any chemicals and stuff in it." So the whole ploy was to, you
know, brew out there and have our controlled refrigerator to brew beer.
TEM: That's like estate brewing. [Laughs.]
TEM: That's fancy!
GS: It was. We mainly did some nice lagers out there. And then afterwards, since
01:01:00I had access to all those hops, I started brewing on my own. But then other
people got the bug. Especially when I moved to Roseburg, I brewed quite a bit -
late '70s. But then people just started going nuts, and it was easier to drink
theirs than to wash bottles and things like that.
TEM: Sterilize stuff.
GS: Yeah. And that's the big thing. That's what I can tell most about new
microbreweries. It's a little apple-cidery, skunky tasting. They have a
cleanliness issue, and they're not sterilizing things enough.
TEM: What about working with Jack Horner? How much did you overlap with him/
GS: I didn't that much. But again, he was this really nice guy. And I can't
remember whether it was him or Jack Horner, because he was a pathologist and
dealt with all the different diseases and stuff. There was two nasty chemicals
01:02:00we dealt with. It was paraquat and Di-Syston, which was a systemic thing. He was
driving out one morning, and he says, "I'm going to be putting out Di-Syston
today." And he says, "That's a granulated form of Systox gas that the Germans
developed in WWII." It's like, "Great." You have to get all these respirators on
and it's summertime. So I learned how to stay upwind.
TEM: So there again it's that time period where there is rising awareness about
environmentalism and the impact of chemicals. And obviously hops are certainly a
very susceptible plant. So what was the attitude, what were the kind of
conversations that you had about that?
GS: We would send for the USDA - we had access to things that the state didn't
have - but I think the attitude was "use responsibly." That they were safe, but
just like with DDT, they just went overboard. And if they would have followed
guidelines and not done as much, then who knows. But paraquat was used really to
kill out yards, but the Di-Syston, I'm not sure what they use for parasite
things. I think they're trying to develop things that are way more resistant to
downy mildew and spider mites. It was always a big issue, I remember.
TEM: Was there any talk about organic farming at that time?
TEM: What about even in other food production? Did you hear about that just kind
of out in life? In life, at the grocery store [laughs]
GS: You know, not so much. Because I guess maybe it was just kind of the naivete
about just what people were putting on their things. Again, I think it was
small, local, responsible use. Because the stuff they use on organic farms, they
just have to dump twice as much on. But if you use a small amount, you're going
to get the same results. The thing about local produce is that we would always
till up a section for tomatoes and corn and cucumbers and eggplant. So we had
quite a bounty.
TEM: On the farm?
GS: On the farm. Plus, they had an apple breeding program, and they were Ok
about us going over and doing our own sampling of apples. And so on our break
time we'd wander over to where the apples were and sample that, and then there
was this huge cornfield next to ours. And Al told us, he says, "Oh, if you want
corn, just do the outer rows, because what they're breeding is just in the
middle row. And they plant all that stuff for people that would take anything.
So just help yourself." So we would go over on our break, and sometimes we would
have a burn pile for all the old vines that came out of the picker, and so we've
had these nice coals. And so we'd roast corn and fresh tomatoes for lunch. We
ate pretty well out there.
TEM: So what was the relationship between the other breeding programs? Did you
hang out with the apple people?
GS: No. The only other - it was hops and essential oils. And I think that's
where I knew Jack a little more, because I think he dealt more with mint than
the hops. So when we were working out in the mint, he would be out there. And
we'd be talking with him, and we would just almost have conversations like we're
TEM: Hangin' out?
GS: Hangin' out conversations, yeah.
TEM: What was the reason for having hops and mint together? Because definitely
there's an era in the reports that were produced, where you can see that they
come together for ten or fifteen years.
GS: Well, I don't know. I think it was just a convenient marriage because of
selling the oils out of both the hops and the mint. Pretty much same equipment,
TEM: So you were looking, it was definitely oil-based, it's that same kind of
01:07:00process of extracting.
TEM: Interesting. I don't think I asked you the same question about stories
about Gail Nickerson. What are some of your remembrances?
GS: [Laughs.] Probably the best day of my entire nine years was during one of
those slack periods. So I come back after lunch, and she announces we're going
on a wild hop expedition. And I said "What?" and she says, "We're going to go
out lookin' for wild hops." It's like, Ok. [Laughs.] So she had this little
yellow Volkswagen. So we hop in it, and she either had a six pack there or we
went and got one, and we headed out towards Alpine because we knew there was a
tavern there that had hops growing in the backyard. But it was closed so we
01:08:00weren't able to sample the hops. [Laughs.] So then we took the back road through
past Alsea Falls and into Alsea, and I think we stopped at the Alsea tavern to
see if they had any hops, but they didn't. And then we headed on and this is
kind of one of my only regrets in life, we were coming through, before we got to
Philomath, we headed out to Kings Valley. There was Fort Hoskins and there was a
bar there called Fort Hoskins and there were actually hops there. So we're
drinking at the bar, and she's telling me about the gal I mentioned earlier, Vi,
they were out there. And it was during the whole women's lib movement, and they
went into the bathroom and burned their bras in the toilet at the Fort Hoskins bar.
TEM: Gail included? That's awesome.
GS: Yeah. You're picturing Gail. [Laughs.]
GS: But that's kind of the funny stuff she would do. And she always had these
wonderful fourth of July parties that I'd take my mom to because she knew Gail
and all the cronies. [Gail had] just this great sense of humor, funny, sense of
the absurd. You know, we'd always have classical music playing in the lab. There
was always a stack of New Yorkers right next to some chemistry journal. She was
well-rounded and just very knowledgeable, just a character.
TEM: How many people were in the lab?
GS: There was usually... Sam had his office across the hall...
TEM: Sam Likens?
GS: Sam Likens. But I never really saw him do much. I guess he was, heh, the
research guy. And so there was usually Gail and I in the lab, and then they
needed somebody else. I think there was enough work for another lab tech, so
what ended up happening is I got this gal, a friend of mine, a job. [Laughs.]
And then I was permanently booted out to the hopyards. Instead of being in this
nice cushy yard, being clean all day, I would be out in the hopyards. During the
harvest season I'd just be covered in mud and stuff. My mother would actually
make me go out and the back and change. [Laughs.] So yeah, there were usually
01:11:00just a couple people in the lab. There was another gal Betty...I can't remember
her last name. Betty was another chemist at work there. But after she left they
really didn't have anybody but work-study help in the lab. And then I think Jack
had a lot of graduate students. And I remember this one guy from one of the
Mexican breweries was up, he spent a lot of time out at the hop yard actually
looking at production and techniques and that kind of stuff. But I think he was
also mainly in more of the botany pathology end of it. And so it seemed that
more graduate, PhD students were with Jack. So there was two other people that
01:12:00worked there too. And we saw them mainly out at the hopyards. There was Don
Roberts. He was only there for a few years, and then he moved up to the Prosser
area along with Chuck Zimmerman. And so both of those guys were...when they were
there, they were kind of the foremen of the hopyards. They directed us and told
us what to do, but they still were researchers. I think both were chemists as well.
TEM: What about funding?
GS: I think funding was primarily through USBA. United States Brewers
Association. That was a lot of where our money came from. And then the USDA,
Agricultural Services, I think that's where the bulk of the money came from. And
01:13:00then my work-study, whatever. You could say that was where my paycheck came from.
TEM: Was the work-study?
TEM: So were you still taking classes that entire time, or at some point did you
become...where you seasonal?
GS: I was pretty much seasonal. When I finished up in '74 I was going to school
and working and that on campus. But then when I graduated the work-study money
kind of ran out and that was it.
TEM: Yeah...So then you graduated in '74 from college. And then were you still
working summers after that?
GS: I was, since I started taking education classes and that kind of requalified
01:14:00me for that. So yeah. And then I got married in '77. That was probably the end.
TEM: The next stage. So by '77 beer-wise, things are starting to happen.
GS: A little more. People are starting to do a little home brewing, but the laws
were still very restrictive. Places in Eugene - I'm trying to think of the name
- it's a little market. I think it's still there, like on Eleventh and Olive.
TEM: Is it the Kiva?
GS: Uh...I don't think it was Kiva then, but I think it was some kind of
incarnation of one of those early stores. And they were the ones we sold our
01:15:00fresh hops to, and they started having brewing stuff. And so there was a little
more buzz about that. Then the other story - I think we talked about this
earlier - but the funny experience back in the 70's. [Laughs.]
TEM: Oh, is this the "Can you graft?" I can't believe I forgot to ask about the
"Can you graft?" After having been in Southern Oregon where -
GS: Yeah, we'd get these - not that I wasn't one of these counter-culture types
- but we'd very nonchalantly ask 'em about hops and stuff and how you could get
some. I think back then - I don't know what the regulations are now; seems like
anybody can go out and plant a hopyard - but I think back then it was pretty
much regulated by the government, who could grow what and when and where. So he
says, "We could probably give you a cutting, but," he says, "because we're USDA
01:16:00and we have to say where this stuff is going because most of it is experimental,
we have to take your name and address, and maybe your driver's license number,"
which was completely erroneous. "Why, why do you need all that?" He goes, "Well,
you know, there's this study that showed you can graft marijuana onto hops," and
they go "Really?" It's like, yes.
GS: I go, "It's a softwood graft. By the time you got it actually to take, hops
are gonna die out." I says, "You're better off going to some secluded place
along the Willamette, and growing your own pot." And they just get this sheepish
grin, and get in their van and drive away.
TEM: Did you guys ever try it? Were people actually trying to?
GS: No! One of my jobs in the greenhouse was to take all these little seedlings,
01:17:00and we'd have them in this...it wasn't really hydroponics, but it was this
really coarse gravel things that we would put there and mist them every hour or
so, just to get those little seedlings to be healthy enough to put in a pot.
You're trying to graft that. A softwood graft is not like slicing a little piece
of a pear limb and putting a new thing in there and wrapping with tape and going
on. It's not gonna happen with a softwood cutting like that. So yeah, we never
tried it because it'd be just impossible.
TEM: So I'm curious. There's a lot of pot growing that's happening now, down
01:18:00south of here. That's certainly a crop. A legal crop. And so I've had that on my
mind, being in southern Oregon. So I'm curious whether there were people who
would stop by and ask about not just grafting but other strategies for growing,
because they're related at some level in their genetic background.
GS: There was a book out that was pretty thorough about growing marijuana. And
it was a little article in that book about grafting marijuana onto hops. And so
I think that book pretty much covered that. I don't think a lot of people made
the connection of that. But I think the hop, right in WWII, they actually were
growing hemp out in the hopyards. And it was mainly because industrial hemp. And
01:19:00that's where the whole grafting thing came about, because hops are this huge
fast-growing vigorous plant. In fact, we would get out there in the morning in
June, put a mark at the growing tip, and they can grow nine inches by the time
you left that day. So they saw the grow potential and woodiness of the hop, so
they thought if we can take the industrial hemp properties and combine them with
hops, then we can make rope for the war effort. So that was what drove that.
Grafting hops to marijuana.
TEM: I guess that makes sense. Research studies will be done for that reason,
01:20:00rather than the other use of that product.
TEM: The medicinal use.
TEM: So when you left, did you think about being a scientist? Did you think
about doing this as your career?
GS: [Laughs.] No. Maybe casing. But not getting full-blown into it. I kind of
like that paycheck coming in, rather than figuring out how to get it.
TEM: Yeah. I'm curious about your interest in history, and whether there was an
awareness, a discussion of the history either of the program, or the history of
01:21:00hops in Oregon. GS: Oh yeah. Especially when we drove up the valley. We would go
to these areas where the hops were, see the old equipment, talk about how
Monmouth was nothing but hopyards.
TEM: So at that time did Monmouth still have lots of hopyards?
TEM: Did you ever go south? Because they were still growing in Grants Pass.
GS: No, we didn't. And I think they weren't as viable. There might have been one
commercial place down south, but I think they were really susceptible to downy
mildew down here. I just remember yet another plot we had, which was always a
fun one to go to, was south of Seal Rock on the coast. Just by Tenmile Creek we
01:22:00had a little half-acre plot that namely was testing for mildew.
TEM: So were you growing, was there an awareness, were you guys thinking about
how things grew in different locations? So how would same variety grow on the
coast? How would this same variety grow on the high desert?
GS: I think so. You know it just popped into my head that maybe they were more
aware of just the differences of climate, because now Prosser, Yakima Valley up
into British Columbia are probably where the majority of hops in the nation are
01:23:00grown, and not so much in the Willamette Valley.
GS: But then again too, they were growing Fuggles and Yakima Gold and Clusters
and things that were a little more susceptible. I think now the hop growers that
stayed in business...they were very reluctant, by the way, to till up their
acreage and plant Cascade. Because it's probably gonna be two years before you
get any kind of yield off that. And so that was a big gamble for the growers, I
know, to invest. But once they saw what a great commercial hop that was, they
were almost planting it exclusively.
TEM: Yeah, and I don't know whether that made them more open to planting other
01:24:00new varieties that came out. They saw that success.
GS: Yeah, I think so. And I think especially when the big boys showed interest,
then they knew that's where the money was gonna be. There weren't really any
microbreweries, maybe the Windemen Brothers [Widmer?] were starting out then,
but they were a fairly good-sized operation. But you had Henry's and then
basically Tumwater, Olympia up in Washington with the Northwest breweries,
Rainier. But I think it was Henry's that really started tryin' to make craft
beer. They were really taking great concern with that Henry's Reserve. Always
coveted the [caps.] They used to number the caps. That was a huge thing, and on
01:25:00Sam's bookshelf, he had a full bottle of Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve,
TE: That's pretty cool!
GS: Yeah, I had one, but who knows where the bottlecap is. I know where the
alcohol went! [Laughs.]
TEM: [Laughs.] Gotta love the savers and the consumers. So you leave in '77,
then you are married, you move to Roseburg.
TEM: And you become a teacher right away?
TEM: And then what was Roseburg like, then?
GS: I remember coming in on Garden Valley. There were two teepee burners in
town. So definitely a logging community. It's probably still about the same
01:26:00size. The population in the city limits really hasn't changed that much. And
it's really starting to change in the last few years. What I've always noticed
about Roseburg is being on the crossroads to easily get to the coast, to the
mountains. You're not that far from Portland, Eugene is real close, Ashland is
local. So you have the recreation and you have the cultural thing, and you're
right there. You know if you live in Medford or Ashland, to get to the coast,
you have to drop down to Crescent City and head to the coast that way, or come
all the way back up here and head over. So it's not that convenient. But we've
never had that post-college, say 35, 40 to 50 with disposable income that
they're willing to dispose of. But now things are changing a little bit. It
01:27:00still has that mill town mentality and it's been really hard to shake that, but
now that we have sudden microbreweries in the area...
TEM: Yeah! That's been big. Not only do you have microbreweries, but you have
wine and hops that are starting to come.
GS: Yeah, the wine has always been big. Especially here, a good friend of my
wife's - and we continued to be friends after we separated - was Doug Dorner. He
was an historian himself, but was an incredible farmer. And he could just
produce a lot of grapes. He became buddies with Richard Sommer, the guy who
01:28:00started HillCrest who is, you know, the father of Pinot in Oregon. [Laughs.] To
whatever of the Willamette Valley who thinks they're the big Pinot guys, no.
Douglas County is. And it was actually my association with Doug too that
encouraged me to get back into brewing. He somehow had this 15-gallon glass carboy.
TEM: That has to be really heavy!
GS: Oh. Yeah. [Laughs.]
TEM: [Laughs.] Empty, it has to be really heavy.
GS: So I got him into brewing too. So yeah, I would definitely partake in his
skills. You know, it was probably part of the craft beer seed was the local
wineries who were doing unique wines. That's why I love Hillcrest, is that they
01:29:00continue to take a look at that year's harvest and base whatever they're going
to produce on that year's terroir as they say. So they're not into these
monocultures that try to produce a similar merlot year to year to year. So I
think that mentality, that kind of entrepreneurial spirit, is kind of in this
area. And hopefully infected all the other areas.
TEM: So I guess I'm curious about, we have not talked about this, but you travel
a lot, have traveled a lot, so wjat is, I'm not sure how to ask this question,
I'm curious about the brewing culture in Roseburg as it compares to the rest of
01:30:00the state. What are some of the special characteristics? Are there differences?
Do you feel like the different? Do you feel like the products they're producing
are different? Kind of that hyper-regionality?
GS: I would think that they're following all the other people in the area. So,
you have a ton of IPAs. There's a couple, and I've noticed all over the state
now, that people are doing more Pilsners. And some are doing them well, some
aren't. But at least they're trying. And it's interesting you mention that
regionality thing. I was just over in Enterprise has Terminal Gravity and most
of their selection I think is catering to the Farmer, Budweiser, Coors Light
01:31:00crowd. [Laughs.] Because the ABU's are low, the alcohol is relatively low, and
so it's just kind of a nice light beer that they're brewin' over there.
TEM: Do you see that here?
TEM: How would you characterize it? They're not the Farmer types here in Roseburg.
GS: No, but I think they're persuaded by the whole scene. And so I think some
people jump into it and get a little too snobby or something. All of a sudden
McMenamins is passé. But Tom still makes a great beer in my way of liking. And
it's like Portlanders don't go to Voodoo Donuts anymore.
GS: Ok, you're just denying yourself a good donut. Come on!
TEM: What's the sense of that? [Laughs.]
GS: Why deny yourself a good beer? So I think it's like anything, there are some
beers that Too Shy makes that I like, and I'll go there, and there's some at
Backside I like. It's the same with wines. You like their pinot, but you don't
like their merlot. And so I think in that respect I think there's enough
variety, and people are dabbling in ciders now. Just the education and just
being aware and having it. It's always surprising when I talk to friends. I say,
"You know we have seven microbreweries," and they go "What?"
TEM: Yeah. So I was looking as I was coming in, the population is 25,000, 26,000?
GS: And the Roseburg school district probably services about 30,000.
TEM: So I mean, that's not a huge town. And having seven. Are they open full time?
GS: No, McMenamins is the only one that's open seven days a week. The other ones
might even have winter hours. Usually Wednesday through Saturday, Saturday
nights. And then not all of them have food. But usually all of them are good
about you bringing food there and eating it on premise, and Two Shy usually
tries to have a food cart. Somebody will pull up at least on Thursday, Friday
nights, Saturdays. So there is food available.
TEM: That's definitely a big thing in Portland - food carts. [Laughs.] Hasn't
quite hit Corvallis. We have, like, one. What is the influence of foodie culture
and foodie awareness down here?
GS: Well I don't think it's as big as in Portland, I mean, they're very simple
01:34:00here. The burger one makes a great burger, and there's a wrap one, and those are
probably the two major ones. But what it's done is allowed families to come to
the place, because I think there's a loophole that says that for minors to be on
premise there has to be certain hours, and there has to be food and other
beverages available. So by having that food cart there, then you can bring your
kids, and they can play around. And I know Two Shy is really good about that,
they have little kids and there's a whole corner in the back of the brewery with toys.
TEM: That's interesting. But then they don't have to invest in a whole
restaurant structure, they can focus on making the beer, but still offer that.
GS: But then you have this almost...I wouldn't call it a pub experience, but
it's more that place where you can meet your friends with your kids and have a
TEM: Have you even then thought about, I dunno, reconnecting with your time on
the farm, ai guess, how has that fed into the rest of your life? That nine years
of experience at, again, such an important time in the program. Do you say, "Oh
yeah, I was working there when they developed Cascade."
GS: No. I might say, "I knew Cascade when it was still a number." That kind of
mock smugness. But it's kind of a sense of pride to know those guys. And then
when I see that Crux made a beer in honor of Jack, Worthy's in Bend, their whole
01:36:00greenhouse operation is named after Al. It's just nice to see those people are
getting recognized. I'm waiting for a Nickerson Liberation Lager. [Laughs.]
TEM: You can make it! [Laughs.]
GS: Maybe I'll suggest it to somebody.
TEM: It's on the record, you thought of it.
GS: Ok. Get on it, folks.
TEM: Good thing you dated it. [Laughs.]
GS: [Laughs.] But no, because we were a USDA project, if anything went wrong at
the hopyard, at OSU they would just have the carpentry department come out and
fix something, or the electrician would come out and do this or that. Once we
added a whole addition to the hopyard, to the barn. I was coming back from
01:37:00vacation in Mexico and I said, "What are we doing today?" and he's like "We're
laying concrete." It's like, "I don't know how to lay concrete." And he says,
"None of us do, but we're gonna learn." So I learned all these practical
building skills that have helped me build my house. You know I have a hop vine
out back and am more than willing to give people suggestions on how to grow
their hops and how to prune them back. And to only put up a few hardy vines and
trim all the rest, and concentrate the growth up in there. Be patient.
GS: So yeah, there's a lot of practical skills I learned. Building, electrician.
[Laughs.] When we finally got done rewiring the new addition, and it came time
to hook it up to the circuit box, Don, I thought, was going to do it. [Laughs.]
01:38:00No, his contribution - we should have video-taped a lot of stuff out there - he
goes, "Ok, I think what you do is you hook this thing up here and this and this.
What I'm gonna do is," - he had this huge like one inch sisal rope and tied it
around my waist, and he says - "if for some reason you get electrocuted, I'm
gonna yank you away." [Laughs.] God. Feel the love, Don! [Laughs.]
GS: So as vital to the project as I thought I was, I probably wasn't that vital.
If they could risk me electrocuting myself.
TEM: Well, he tied a rope around you.
GS: He did tie a rope around me. I have to give him that. [Laughs.] But the
innocent kind of funny things. Oh, I probably knew Robnett's better than some of
the people that worked at Robnett's because we had an account there. And when we
had to jerry-rig pumps on old tractor motors to make the hydraulics work, we
01:39:00were combing the shelves for anything that would work. And so that was always
kind of fun, just to know Robnett's inside and out and just hang out with those
guys down there who have been in Corvallis forever.
TEM: Yeah. That's another place that probably hasn't changed much.
GS: Probably not, no. We have one in our town, a Handyman Hardware. When I walk
in, I just get that Robnett's feel. Yeah, there's a couple of things that I wish
I dunno if they're up in an attic, somebody needs, they had the old hop baskets,
you know, the lath wire things that they would harvest in. So they were there.
You know, hopsack pants were a thing, and I never really made the connection
01:40:00when I was wearing them in junior high, but when I got out there and saw the
difference between just the plain old burlap bag and a hop sack, it was like Oh,
of course. [Laughs.] It's just funny little things like that. I look back on
those times and I kind of just need to make a pilgrimage during the week and see
if there's remnants of all the stuff we jerry-rigged and things we made. I just
wonder what happened to the old portable hop-picker and some of those things.
TEM: They might still be using it.
GS: They might. I know they did put in a state-of-the-art stationary hop-picker
there. So I know that they have an...up-to-date one.
GS: [Laughs.] Something that wasn't used pre-war, you know.
GS: Yeah, that was always an interesting thing there, because we would fill it
01:41:00up with oil to the cylinders and then drain it all out, put new oil in, put
fresh gas in, put fresh spark plugs in and pray that it would fire up in the
fall, and that we could get things going. And we pretty much did.
TEM: Were there things that were on your list that you thought about that we
GS: I think we mentioned Gail, For some reason, the stuff that Al was working on
always intrigued me even though I didn't have the real strong...well, I probably
had a better knowledge of genetics than I did of chemistry...
TEM: I thought you were going to say "wiring." [Laughs.]
GS: [Laughs.] That too. The tetraploids and triploids that he was developing, I
think I have a Mount Hood out here, I have something that was never released. Al
kind of gave me his baby one day, so I took that from Corvallis to here.
TEM: That was a big deal. That era of development he added.
GS: Oh huge, yeah. Working on those different combinations and stuff. I'm sure
now you could just use gene splicing and do all that stuff.
TEM: That's what he said, that it has really shifted in where your focus is, and
it seems like when he was there it was very in-the-ground based, it wasn't
microscoped. It's not that there wasn't an awareness of cells, but it was a very
TEM: And of course they still plant things now. But it sounds like it's shifted.
GS: Some of these discussions about developing those triploids - I think Mount
Hood is one of those Hallertau triploids - for some reason Hallertau, Fuggle,
Cluster and Yakima Gold are the names that just kind of float in the back of my
head because those are the ones that we were growing, developing and changing
over. I always see those in the book or when I'm writing things forever.
TEM: Well, I mean, you have to hear it in his voice too. [Laughs.]
GS: Yeah. [Laughs.]
TEM: With his still strong Austrian accent.
GS: And Chuck was German but didn't have the German accent. And he still had
Al's sensibility too, but way more smarter. I remember he was talking about this
young kid in Corvallis that obviously was quite the womanizer. His name was
Chuck Zimmerman, and so Chuck would always get these calls, and then he would
always lead 'em on. [Laughs.]
TEM: [Laughs.] That's a small town. That's Corvallis.
GS: I keep sayin', it's the human side of all those guys that really made 'em
fun to work with. Just seeing their major accomplishments and that their work is
being recognized is rewarding. It's rewarding to just be a tiny part of that.
TEM: Yeah. That's wonderful. Well, I think that's a nice concluding thought.
GS: Ok. Works for me.