Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Dave Takush Oral History Interview, February 20, 2017

Oregon State University
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00:00:00 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: Where are we?

Segment Synopsis: Takush introduces himself and provides his birth place, birth date, current location and current date.

Keywords: Bittersweet apples; Cidermaking; Craft beverage industry; Home brewing

Subjects: Brewing; Cider; Cider industry; Cider industry--United States--History

00:00:31 - Childhood experiences in Corvallis, OR

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Partial Transcript: So you were born in Corvallis?

Segment Synopsis: Takush discusses how he’s spent the majority of his life in Corvallis, Oregon, with one short experience away at the University of Oregon. He discusses his early education and the various activities he engaged in as a child. He notes his relationship with the Willamette River, both through growing up along it and having the 2 Towns orchards along it as well. Takush also recounts his introduction to Lee Larsen in middle school, and hard cider from a visit in Spain.

Keywords: Apple orchards; Cider industry--Spain; Crescent Valley High School (Corvallis, OR); Outdoor activities; Vegetable farming

Subjects: Childhood friendship; Corvallis (Or.); Outdoor recreation; University of Oregon; Vegetable gardening; Willamette River (Or.)

00:05:17 - Academic interests / Introduction to brewing

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Partial Transcript: So what were you interested in academically or scholastically?

Segment Synopsis: Takush describes his interests in science and cooking growing up, and how he knew he wouldn’t want a career in scientific research. He discusses his brief considering of the culinary arts for a career, as well as how he got involved in homebrewing in high school. He recounts when he decided on being a professional brewer during high school, and how he discovered the OSU fermentation science program. Takush then discusses how deeply involved Oregon and Corvallis are in the craft brewing industry.

Keywords: Brewing science; Craft brewing; Craft brewing industry--Oregon; Fermentation science; Home brewing

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Brewing industry; Cooking; Food science; Hops; Scientific research

00:10:17 - College experiences in food science at Oregon State University

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Partial Transcript: So when you make the decision, it is early 2000s?

Segment Synopsis: Takush describes his first year of college at the University of Oregon, and his appreciation of small town life. He discusses the array of coursework in the fermentation science option of food science, and how they make up the different fields of science. He also details the different student backgrounds within his academic cohort, and how the demographics have changed over time.

Keywords: Brewing chemistry; Fermentation science; Fermented foods and beverages; Home brewing; Sensory analysis

Subjects: Fermented foods; Food science; Food science and technology; Oregon State University; Small towns; University of Oregon; Wine--Chemistry

00:17:06 - Interest and education in oenology

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Partial Transcript: So you started brewing, not wine, but then you went

Segment Synopsis: Takush describes the level of specificity in the fermentation science program at the undergraduate and graduate levels, along with how he connected with his graduate advisor in oenology. He details the early jobs he had during and after school in the brewing and wine industries, and the skills he gained from each of them.

Keywords: Brewing science; Fermentation science; Graduate studies; Local community; Oregon agricultural extension

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Breweries; Graduate students; Oenology; Oregon State University; Rugby; Rugby--New Zealand; Viticulture; Wine industry--New Zealand; Wine industry--Oregon; Wine industry--Washington (State); Wine making; Wineries

00:20:21 - Comparison of American and European beverage culture / Founding 2 Towns Ciderhouse

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Partial Transcript: Did you also look at wine and beer while you were over there?

Segment Synopsis: Takush describes the observations he made while visiting the alcohol industry in Europe, and how perceptions of cider differ in European and American cultures. He discusses the lack of cider culture in the US when he, Larsen and Sarnoff-Wood founded 2 Towns ciderhouse, and how that influenced their business goals. He reflects on the impact 2 Towns has had on the rise of the cider industry in the US since they opened.

Keywords: Apple cultivation--Oregon; Apples--Oregon; Brewing industry--progress; Brewing industry--tradition; Local agriculture

Subjects: Agriculture--Oregon; Cider industry; Cider industry--Spain--Asturias--History; Cider industry--United States--History; Tradition

00:23:42 - Deciding on cider for 2 Towns / Business growth

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Partial Transcript: So how did you decide what- again, thinking about

Segment Synopsis: Takush discusses the basis for their interest in making cider for the business, and how their values of making what they want to drink are reflected in the craft beer industry. He notes the importance of passion in making a good product, and how growth as a business has allowed for higher quality production. He explains one of their improvements in using bittersweet apples for their ciders, which are specifically grown for cider in Europe.

Keywords: Bittersweet apples; Brewing experimentation; Business values; Dessert apples; Product variety

Subjects: Brewing industry; Brewing--Equipment and supplies; Cider; Cider industry; Quality control

00:29:36 - Stylistic differences in cider varieties / Sourcing for apples

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Partial Transcript: So talk about what the difference between those is.

Segment Synopsis: Takush compares the flavor and other qualities of New World and Old World cider styles, and how that’s based in the types of apples being used. He discusses the growing use of bittersweet apples in the American cider industry, and how 2 Towns Ciderhouse is involved in that growth. He describes their different sources of apples and other fruit for their products, and how they’re trying to implement a european model for interaction with local agriculture.

Keywords: Apple orchards; Bittersweet apples; Brewing--adjuncts; Cider culture; Cider industry--France; Cider industry--Spain; Dessert apples; Farming communities; New World ciders; Old World ciders

Subjects: Agriculture; Cider; Cider industry; Cider industry--England; Tannins; Tradition

00:36:19 - Education in cider culture / Apple genetics

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Partial Transcript: So you, your master's was solidly in wine, pinot noir.

Segment Synopsis: Takush discusses how he learned about the history and culture of cider, and the role his higher education played in him adapting to the craft of cider making. He explains the importance of education in the 2 Towns marketing strategy, as well as the origins of apples in the middle east. He describes the pollination needs of apples, how that leads to a high diversity of apple cultivars, and why commercial apple cultivation must involve grafting. Takush also details how the genetic diversity of apples and pears are archived in the US, and how dessert apples are artificially selected for their flavors.

Keywords: Apple forests; Apples--breeding programs; Apples--germplasm repositories; Apples--grafting; Apples--horticulture; Horticulture--education; Pears--germplasm repositories; Wild apples

Subjects: Apples; Apples--Breeding; Apples--Classification; Apples--Genetics; Apples--History; Apples--Quality--Genetic aspects--Identification--Periodicals; Apples--Varieties; Horticulture; Pears--Diseases and pests; USDA

00:50:55 - Mentoring and demographics in the cider industry

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Partial Transcript: So, you know a lot, and you were very early in the industry.

Segment Synopsis: Takush discusses the role of 2 Towns in inspiring others to join the US cider industry, and the importance of cooperation and mentorship within the industry. He notes the gender demographics of the craft cider industry, and how they compare to those in the craft beer industry. He also describes the age distribution of cider makers in the industry, and how the recent growth of US cider culture is driven by young people.

Keywords: Brewing and gender; Brewing community; Cider and gender; Cider making; Home brewing; US Association of Cider Makers; United States Association of Cider Makers

Subjects: Cider; Cider industry; Cider industry--United States--History; Entrepreneurs; Entrepreneurship; Mentorship; Young entrepreneurs

00:55:26 - Education background of new cider makers

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Partial Transcript: So, I know one criticism that I've heard about early days of the brewing industry

Segment Synopsis: Takush discusses the variety of educational backgrounds of new cider makers in the industry, and how that leads to high diversity and creativity of style. He describes the challenges of founding a craft industry, and how the learning curve differs from when the industry has been long-established. Takush recounts a visit from English cider makers, and how tradition within European cider culture can limit innovation.

Keywords: Cider industry--tradition; Cider making; Cider making---education; Cider--styles; Fermentation science; Home brewing

Subjects: Cider; Cider industry--England--History; Cider--United States; Creativity; Diversity; Experiential learning; Quality assurance; Quality control; Tradition

00:59:41 - Connecting with the Corvallis brewing community

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Partial Transcript: So you live in a city, we live in a city with a lot of breweries.

Segment Synopsis: Takush describes the strength of the brewing culture in Corvallis, OR, and how this is reflected in the craft beer culture of the Pacific Northwest. He notes the history of local cultures embracing breweries, along with the presence of beer in the American identity. Takush also discusses the awareness of local products by consumers in Corvallis and Oregon, and how that contributes to the success of the craft beverage industry.

Keywords: Brewing community; Brewing culture; Craft beer; Fermentation science; Local agriculture

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Breweries; Breweries--Oregon; Corvallis (Or.); Wineries--Oregon

01:03:34 - Impact of 2 Towns Ciderhouse on the cider industry

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Partial Transcript: Since you have thought about the history of the industry

Segment Synopsis: Takush explains the focus of 2 Towns on current affairs, as well as the excitement they have on the return of the US cider industry. He discusses the presence of cider culture in the US prior to Prohibition, and how it was lost to the brewing industry following Prohibition. He also describes his hopes for the future of the cider industry in terms of regional diversity and research on apple cultivation.

Keywords: Cider industry--United States--Return of; Cider industry--diversity; Newtown Pippin apples; Terroir--research

Subjects: Cider; Cider industry; Cider industry--United States--History; Prohibition; Terroir

01:08:58 - Concluding thoughts

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Partial Transcript: So, my favorite concluding question is the "what do you feel proud of?"

Segment Synopsis: Takush discusses the synergy of the skills each 2 Towns founder brings to the business, and how that contributes to their success. He describes his pride in making a company that has a positive impact on its employees and surrounding community, and how they’ve cultivated a positive business culture.

Keywords: Business community; Business culture; Business partnership; Employee treatment; Workplace community

Subjects: BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Workplace Culture; Employee retention; Employee rights; Finance; Graphic design; Organizational culture; Teamwork