TE: Here's the release
TF: Oh yeah yeah. Excellent.
TE: And then I will stick it in the back of my coat form
TE: Well I'm so glad this worked out, this is....
TF: Yeah this is a good space and it's not far from my house
TE: So do you live...
TF: About a mile from here, maybe a mile and a half. I'm just south along the
river, which is sort of east actually (laughs) and then today's date which is
the 19th, is that correct?
TF: Yes it is.
TE: (laughs) I said that with certainty and then I was like counting from a day
I knew what it was.
TF: And then uh...interviewee...Well I really appreciate the opportunity to tell
my story. Thank you.
TE: It's very exciting, well I think you know, you getting an award a week ago,
was it that long ago?
TE: It's the continuing history
TF: Oh I'm not done yet man
TF: (laughs) Yeah when I'm 80 you guys will have to come do this part 2
TE: Yeah I know, I did an oral history with Blake Crosby and I said that it
would be cool to come back 10 years from now and then 10 years from now to talk
to people at different stages.
TF: Sure, sure, or even 20 years when they really look different you know and
the world is a different place and everything. Mkay I think that does it
TE: Well that's a serious, it's like you could juggle that
TF: Double cameras. As long as your shoulder is pointing in the right direction
TF: and if these wires, like are you just going to get me from here up or should
I try to hide this wire maybe? I can put that in my butt pocket. What?
Background: You can just stick it or set it on the ground
TF: Sure, I can do that or I can even clip it on my butt, the butt pocket here.
00:02:00Yeah I think that works and I'll get it kinda behind me then. Are you freezing
in here, are you okay?
TE: I'm okay, I might do some jumping jacks
TF: Cause I'm like, I'm looking at you going "uh-uh." That's spring or summer,
that's not a winter outfit
TE: No, it's not at all
TF: At least for me, you don't even have warm socks
TE: I don't and the funny thing is that I, we drop my daughter off with my
sister on the way up here and I made sure she has all the warm clothing and I
say "make sure you bring your rain jacket," "it's not raining," and I said, but
yeah then what do I do, I just walk out of the house as if weather...
TF: (laughs) is irrelevant
TE: doesn't matter where I was (laughs)
TF: Yeah that's right
TE: I'll just wait for the lights to warm up
TF: The what?
TE: For the lights to warm up our little sphere
TF: I doubt it, but maybe
TE: I'll watch the thermometer, maybe we'll get up to 61
TF: What's it at now?
TF: Ahh yeah
TE: I could take my hair down and then it would be really warm
TF: That's true. I always think once I'm in a situation like this "I should have
brought a mirror." Because I've had things where at the end I go and look and my
makeup was totally running, nobody said anything
TE: I don't see anything like that
TF: Yeah I decided to stop putting a little eyeliner underneath my eyes because
it just spread so I'm like "okay I think I'm going to be good on the makeup
today." I think I'm probably better off without a headband since I'm not 12, but
I like em because it keeps the hair out of my face, but I'll wait till he's
00:04:00ready then I'll take it off, because I'm a working girl, I'm always working with
my head down, you know.
TE: Well I've learned that about having my hair down, that it makes me look like
Sasquatch when I'm on film or people take pictures, that it just turns into this
TF: big bushy thing or something kind of?
TE: Yeah it's, as I age it's getting curlier and much less sunlight (laughs)
TF: Oh that's cool
TE: I guess
TF: Yeah, wonderful
TE: It's kinda fun, (laughs) but also kinda not
Cameraman: Alright, I think we're ready to go
TF: Okay, I'm going to take my headband off, is my hair doing anything unruly
Cameraman: It looks pretty good
TF: Go like that
TF: Uh-oh, was that me?
TE: No that was me
TF: I hope you got your little corner protectors on that thing
TE: Oh I do
TF: That's good
TE: I am a dropping kind of person
Cameraman: Okay so I'll be walking around a bit, getting other shots of you
TE: So do you want to talk to me or to the camera?
Cameraman: She'll just talk to you here
TE: Okay, excellent. So the way that my arc of questions is to initially ask you
to talk about early experiences and then we'll kind of move through your career
and sort of narrative, but don't feel like you have to stick to a chronological
order if things come up that are interesting
TF: Because you can edit it?
TE: So talk about your first beer experience as you were growing up so
TE: not necessarily the first time you drank beer (laughs), but the first time
you thought about it.
TF: Right. Well I grew up in a German-American family in Wisconsin so beer was a
part of the culture there certainly and my very first taste of beer, I wouldn't
remember it because at family reunions when the babies are crying we usually
00:06:00give them a little sip of beer and then they take a nap (laughs). And then
growing up as I said, a lot of dairy in the Wisconsin dairy state including
pizza night, probably once every week or two and when it was pizza night we had
a choice, it didn't have to be 2% milk; it could be milk or Coca-Cola or beer.
So we had a choice and it wasn't like beer was, you know, set aside separate
other than that it was a treat, like Coca-Cola was a treat. So you know
sometimes we felt like having a Coke because it was a treat and sometimes we
felt like having a beer wasn't the forbidden fruit that our current culture
seems to make it.
TE: Did you grow up in a big family?
TF: I was the oldest of four children. Had some cousins half an hour away and
then most of the cousins are spread out because my parents were not from
Wisconsin, so there was cousins all over the place and where else can I think
00:07:00of.... Oh I can talk about fermentation in general kind of.
TE: Sure, ok.
TF: Sometimes people will ask me: "well why beer?" and "why fermentation? How
did that capture your imagination?" And I would say I liked making stuff so as a
kid you would always try to make stuff and when I was 10 years old I decided,
I'd already been a cookie baker for quite a while, an accomplished cookie and
cake baker, and I thought I'm going to make bread because that's something new
and really unusual and different and I didn't know anybody who made bread. But I
liked homemade bread or at least I don't think I had had any at that point, I
think I just thought I would and so I got out the cookbook; actually I remember
making pretzels once and so I look up pretzels in the cookbook and it's saying
add chocolate powder and roll it in sugar and I'm like "Wow I didn't know you
00:08:00could use these ingredients and end up with pretzels." Because I was too young
to understand that your ingredients are absolutely what you're going to end up
with. So at the end I ended up with chocolate cookies that looked like pretzels
and I was very annoyed and so I learned from that experience that your
ingredients are really important, what you put into it. So when I started making
bread I made sure that I was using something that looked like UNSURE bread. And
I was ten years old and my parents were heading off to an antique auction, that
was big back in 1970 and they said "okay you can make the bread, but you can't
bake it until we get home because you're too little to use the oven." So I made
the bread and I let it rise and I made the bread and made the two loaves of
bread and then my father had this brainy idea: "hey let's only make one of
the... let's only bake one of the loaves halfway and then we can save it and
bake the other half another day, we could put it in the freezer or something."
And that's what I call a half-baked idea, it really didn't work very well.
TF: But the one loaf that we did bake really turned out great and so I've been
00:09:00baking bread and fermenting things ever since. I happen to feel that I have an
affinity for that, that somehow I understand the yeast or they like me, because
I have excellent success with that. My father has since tried making bread and
it wasn't since the invention of the bread machine that he stopped killing the yeast.
TE: So do you study to learn about different strains of yeast, is that something
that you started doing early on or was that kind of information available to you
or accessible or even interesting to you or were you more of a tinker and
experimenter to see on your own what would happen?
TF: Well yeast education was pretty slim, I started a long time ago. I started
home-brewing in 1988 and I started making homemade wines in 1979. We were just
happy to have yeast. My first homemade wine I used baker's yeast from the store
00:10:00because I didn't realize you could find other kinds of yeast. And that was in
1979 and in 1983 I discovered a home wine and beer making shop and discovered
Champagne yeast and was able to make some wines. (coughs) I was able to make
some apple wine and some wines like that with actual real yeast and it
definitely made a complete difference in the flavor of the product. Of course I
wasn't making Welch's grape juice wine at that point. I was using real apple
juice and I was buying grape concentrate. And I did make homemade wines
throughout college. In Wisconsin at that time the drinking age was 18, so were
TF: And even if we weren't I probably would have played around a little bit, had
I been able to get a hold of what I needed. So after college I, when I
00:11:00graduated, I moved to California, that's where I got a job.
TE: And what year was that?
TF: That was in 1984 and pretty quickly I realized that you could get really
decent wines at really good prices so I needed to ferment something else. So I
was continuing to ferment bread, but then I started fermenting beer in 1985 as a
home-brewer and I was a cob-, I won't say cobalt programmer because people will
be like "what's that? Cobalt?!" I was a computer-programmer in the 1980's in a
cubicle and not real happy with the job, so when there was an opportunity to go
to the American Home Brewers Association National Conference and learn more
about my hobby I did that and that was in 1988 and I was able to meet some very
interesting people who had had other careers and then gone into beer
00:12:00professionally. Now at this point in 1988 I believe there were about 50 large
national breweries and about 50 craft breweries. It was probably pretty even at
that point. So to actually decide to change your career to brewing was pretty
darn radical, but I did learn, I met John Meyer who's the brew master at Rogue,
at the time he was at Alaskan Brewing Company and he had been an...an...let me
start over with this, because I know you can edit it.
TE: That's right (laughs)
TF: And John Meyer had been a senior aircraft technician for Hugh's Aircraft in
Los Angeles and he had made the jump and survived financially and so I thought
so could I. And he had attended a school called Siebel Institute in Chicago
which I had never heard of before. And I met another person named Don Outterson
who had done the same thing. I met some famous people in the craft beer
industry, well at that time it wasn't called the craft beer industry, it was
00:13:00called micro brewing and those were micro beers, just like microcomputers was a
big term back in the day. And so I met Charlie Papazian and Michael Jackson, the
beer writer from London and I watched the award winner...
TE: (laughs). That was surprising.
TF: I think that's the hot water heater wasn't it?
TF: Okay. Must have vented.
TE: Which I guess is good (laughs).
TF: So I'll backtrack
TE: It's good that it was doing that.
TF: Yeah, so I'll backtrack just a little...
TE: So you met Charlie...
TF: I met Charlie Papazian and Michael Jackson, the beer writer from London and
I was also able to watch the Great American Beer Festival, because at that point
in 1988 they tied the American Home Brewer's Association's conference, national
conference with the Great American Beer Festival and it was in June at that
point and so after the conference ended, the GABF, we call it the Great American
00:14:00Beer Festival came right after that and it's interesting because in those days
the GABF had only been going, let's see...1988, I think it started in about,
maybe 19...I can't remember, probably shortly after the repeal of the
prohibition of home brewing which Jimmy Carter put into play in 1978. So at the
most the GABF had been going ten years and probably less than that, I seem to
think it was about 8 years old at that point. But how the judges were judging is
they would go out on the floor of the festival and they would fill pitchers with
beer and bring it back to the judges. Now of course it's huge and they have
something like 4000 or more beers entered and everybody has to, even if they're
draft-only brewery they have to bottle it up and pre-ship it so it's ready for
the judging because there's a lot of staging and a lot of work involved, but in
those days the beer was just judged straight from the cask err the keg and when
00:15:00the judges were getting up on stage there weren't that many of them, and so at
the end they had all of the judges come back on stage for a photo, I mean sorry,
all of the award winners and one of them was a woman and her name was Mellie
Pullman and she was the brew master of Schirf Brewing in Salt... sorry, it Park
City Utah. And I saw her get up on stage and I thought "wow she's about my size
and if she can do the job physically so can I." And it's interesting because not
too long after that, I believe a few years, Mellie quit the brewing industry to
go off and get some advanced degrees and become a college business professor and
now she is at Portland State University where she has been for a while and she
is running their beer business education program and they have a course called
"The Business of Beer," "The Business of Craft Brewing," actually is what it's
called. And I think that's kind of neat because her career has really circled
00:16:00around and so much of life is really like that where it doesn't really matter
what you learn or what you do, because you will use it, nothing is ever ever wasted.
TE: So what, where were you living in California and then what year, did you
actually move to Chicago?
TF: Just for the course
TE: Okay, so where were you living in California?
TF: Okay, I'll do that. So when I graduated from the University of Wisconsin at
Eau Claire in 1984 I got a job in the San Francisco Bay area at a business
called Burroughs which subsequently merged with Sperry and changed its name to
Unisys and at the time it was a fortune 100 company and I was in software
services and I was home-brewing, so that was uhh, I started home-brewing in 1985
and in 1988 I did attend that conference and the Great American Beer Festival
and when I got back I decided that I was going to attend Siebel too. So I asked
00:17:00my employers for a 3-month leave of absence because I thought "well if it
doesn't work out, you know I really don't want to mess with my career, I'm
working at a fortune 100 company," and they said "no, we won't give you a leave
of absence," I said "okay then I quit." And so I packed up all my stuff, put it
into storage, handed my pet bird to my boyfriend and got on a plane and flew to
Chicago where I lived for about 3 months for brewing school and while I was
there, after I graduated, I got an unpaid internship at a little brew pub, now
defunct, called Sieben's River North Brew Pub. I worked there for about 3 weeks,
just so I could get something to put on my resume. Then I came back to the San
Francisco Bay Area and I had always wanted to live in Oregon. It's really
strange if you think about it, something in my future was calling to my
present-self back then and saying "come to Oregon." Because the Oregon Trail
Pioneers intrigued me, I, for whatever reason, wanted to move to Oregon. I
00:18:00remember one of my classmates went to summer school at OSU in, sorry, one of my
classmates went to summer school at the U of O, the University of Oregon in
Eugene and showed me the catalogue and I thought the photo on the cover of the
University Catalogue was just beautiful! And I thought "I want to go there, I
want to go there." And so, fact I talked about it so much that my friends had a
t-shirt made, was a black t-shirt with white embroidered, said "Oregon or bust!"
And I used to wear it and then people would tease me because I'm not a
large-busted woman. So you know you'd wear it out somewhere and you're drinking,
someone says "does that mean you want to go to Oregon or you want the bust?"
"no, it's a pioneer thing, Oregon or bust," they put in on Conestoga or whatever
wagons, Conestoga wagons right?
Cameraman: Is that right? Calistoga?
TF: Is that right? I think Calistoga's a place in California.
TE: Is that a place?
TF: Anyway I think it's Conestoga
TF: Yeah, okay.
TE: (laughs) You're back there with your crossword.
TF: Yeah one of you guys is like a historian around here right? (laughs)
TE: yeah -garbled voice- (laughs)
TF: So I said "Well Oregon or bust is what they used to write on the Conestoga
wagons before they left St. Louis to go on the Oregon Trail all the way to
Oregon." Okay. So anyway, so here I was in California and it was closer to
Oregon than Wisconsin was, that's for sure. And I returned from brewing school
and you know packed up a suitcase in my little 1983 Honda Accord and I just
started driving and I drove from the Bay Area up to Portland and I visited every
single brewery and home-brew shop along the way and I handed out a resume to
everybody and of course most of them said "well we're not...here's your resume
back, we're not hiring," I said "why don't you hang onto it in case you hear of
any new breweries opening, pass it on." So they did and I lived in Portland then
00:20:00for about 2 months while I was looking for a job. Called every brewery in town,
asked them for an informational interview. Course they'd never seen a woman
trying to become a brewer before so it was pretty like "who're you and what do
you want?" But that's okay because I ended up with my first job in Berkley,
California at a place called Golden Gate Brewing Company and they called me and
said "Hey you come really highly recommended, we have 2 copies of your resume,"
yay that worked. And luckily they didn't know that brewing was a physical job,
because that seemed to be the holdup for the other people I was talking to, so
these people just saw that I had a professional brewing education which was very
rare back in 1988, 1989 and so I came down, they interviewed me and said "Okay,
we want to hire you," I said "great, when can I get into the brewery and when do
00:21:00you plan to open?" "We're opening on March 1st," I said "that's like 3 days from
now," I said "there won't be any beer," they said "we're going to open with
guest taps." Okay. So that was the same day that I started, was the day that
they opened, so they had guest taps on for about 5 weeks because let's face it I
was a home-brewer, I knew how to do a 5-gallon extract batch of beer, I had been
involved with 2 all-grain batches, one at brewing school and one a friend had
encouraged me to help him participate in, all of the sudden I'm in a brewery
that in hindsight I know was a ten-barrel brewery, oh sorry, in hindsight I know
was a 7-barrel brewery, but at the time I was told was a 10-barrel brewery, and
I... "This pipe goes here, okay, and follow this and the pump's here okay and we
got a head over there." So just figuring out process flow and trying to figure
out how to run it. Now when these guys were going to hire me at Golden Gate
Brewing Company in Berkley, I said "who's going to train me?" they said "Oh the
00:22:00guy who used to brew here. Yeah that was under different ownership, it's under
new ownership now and he's going to come back and teach you." I said "Okay." So
I get there, so I call this fellow and I said "hey, heard you're going to come
back and train me." He said "I'm not setting foot inside that building ever." He
said "I didn't enjoy brewing there, I didn't like the owners that were running
it then, I don't know these new people, they're no friends of mine. I'm not
doing it." I said "Okay...um do you have any assistant brewers that used to brew
here maybe? I could hire them and work with them and they could help me, you
know, to learn a little bit about this big piece of equipment I'm looking at all
these big tanks, you know because I'm only this big as my background." So I
hired his ex-assistant brewer who turns out was a very serious drug abuser
(laughs) and so he didn't know his righty-tighty from his lefty-loosey shall we
say at any rate, so that was always a challenge cause this brewery was on 2
floors. And um it was poorly designed, it was designed for looks, not for
00:23:00brewing and I won't give you all the details here, but let's just say brewing by
myself one day I sustained 3rd-degree burns and was in the hospital. And it took
me about a month to recover and I had skin-grafts; they shaved my head and took
the skin-grafts from my scalp. So I get out and I need to learn how to walk
again and I'm on crutches and I have no hair and I'm looking for a job. My
injury had nothing to do with that brewery closing, there was a lot of other
factors, but they did close while I was in the hospital. And from the hospital,
being who I am, I was calling around from the hospital – and there were no
cell-phones then, this is 1989, um this is basically in June of 1989 and so you
had a calling card and you used the hospital phone and you just kept calling
until the card ran out of money – and so I was calling all over trying to get
another brewing job. Now I only had 2 months under my belt at that brewery, that
00:24:00was it; I started March 1st and was injured on May 1st, I had my skin-graft
surgery on May 8th and I did find another job. Luckily what had happened, when I
was at Golden Gate Brewing Company for 2 months is that I was able to get my own
beers on tap and when I had completely gotten every tap with my beer in it then
what was traditional in the day, and you see sometimes even now, is you have a
pre-opening party or in this case we were already open, you have a grand-opening
party and you invite all the brewers in the area. Now here that would be a very
large party, but back then it wasn't that big of a party, and so what was
interesting is I already figured I'm a professional brewer, I'm a professional
brew master, I'm the only one here who knows how to run this stuff and um what I
didn't realize is there was an old brewer network shall we say and when people
came, until they taste your beer, you're just a wannabee. Once they taste your
beer and it's on-sale commercially and it's good, you're part of...they accept
00:25:00you, you're part of the old-brewer network. And so at that little party, all of
a sudden all these guys, my peers, people who I thought of as my peers, came up,
shook my hand and said "your beer's good." I just realize "Oh my gosh, I just
got initiated into the old brewers network. Cool!" (laughs) I've been a part of
the old brewer network ever since.
TE: Did you feel like it was at that time uh that there was any concern um
-Cameraman faintly talking-
TF: Well that's a good idea, we should have done that before. We forgot.
Voice: It wasn't, I couldn't hear much of it until the fridge started up again.
TF: Ah, okay. Alright do we have to redo anything or is it all okay?
Voice: It's all okay.
TE: So I'm curious about at that point, so they're, essentially I'm assuming at
that point in the old brewer network there were no other women.
TF: No, not at that point. Well there were other women, but there's 2 women who
00:26:00started before me, who I didn't know, one was Mellie Pullman. Are we filming,
should I start going again?
-Cameraman faintly talking-
TF: Okay. Um prior to the, being initiated into the old brewer network um, I had
never actually met any women brewers and so there were 2 who were prior to me
that I had never met; one was Mellie Pullman who I mentioned, the other one was
Carroll Stout and she was the brewing master at Stout Brewing Company in Adams,
Adamstown Pennsylvania. I didn't meet any women for a long time, let me think
about this for a second, I was definitely the 1st one west of the Rockies –
first woman craft brew master – west of the Rockies, first one in California,
first one in Oregon, first one on the West Coast, first one in the
Pacific-Northwest. I've had a lot of firsts in my career which is really lucky
and really fun.
TE: So did you feel any um, I won't say discrimination, but did you feel any
00:27:00reluctance that you thought was based on the fact that you were a woman or do
you think it really, that there were maybe physical concerns, so think size, you
know that there's a difference between you and the size that Eric is, just the
simple size of your body. So was that more, if you experienced any reluctance it
would come from that or did you like that your gender was an issue?
TF: Well I had a thought, but you kept talking.
TE: Sorry, that's what happens. (laughs)
TF: (laughs) You just asked your short question, "well we'll keep going." (laughs)
TE: (laughs) So first
TF: Well hang on, let me rephrase it and then I'll answer.
TF: Okay. So how did size or gender or anything like that play into my ability
to get a job and people's reactions to my inquiring about jobs?
TF: Okay. So the answer to that is that yes there was some, but I chose to
ignore it. I figure, I have something to offer and if somebody doesn't want to
00:28:00hire me, then that's just not the right fit. There was some concern about my
ability to do the job, but if you look at you know I'm 5 foot 6, at the time I
was 120 pounds, somebody looks at me and says "well here's somebody, but she's
got brewing school training, okay. But I just need somebody to, you know, to
life sacks of grain and whatever, muck out the mash or something and here's my
nephew Loui and he's a body builder you know." People are going after Loui a lot
more than me at the time, but it didn't take me long to get a job and there are
women today who will say "oh I tried and no one hired me because I'm a woman,"
and I'm like "you didn't try very hard then or you kept barking up the wrong
trees, so keep going!" I will refuse to admit that there's a gender based
glass-ceiling in this industry, the men have always embraced me, we are peers,
I'm one of the boys sometimes, which is thus the pink boots to represent my
00:29:00gender. The only glass-ceiling in this industry, the only glass, the only
glass-ceiling in this industry that I feel is here is an education glass-ceiling
and we'll talk about that when we get to pink boots. But I feel that I was able
to surmount any glass-ceiling that might have been there by going to brewing
school, because I knew that when it came to brain or brawns, I'm probably a
little better with my brain and I had to optimize and maximize my ability to get
a job with that, so that's what I did. And I feel that every woman out there who
really wants to break into the brewing industry, if you're feeling like you're
getting pushback or not given the respect that you're due for your skill level
and everything else, maybe it's an education thing, don't blame it on a gender thing.
TE: So when you were looking and moved from the Bay Area, did you go straight up
to Oregon from there. Having the experience under your belt, at that point was
00:30:00there, what was the transition like?
TF: What was the transition like? Okay. I was the head brewer at Triple Rock for
about a year and a quarter or so...
TE: In Berkley?
TF: Yes. I'll back that up, sorry.
TE: It's okay.
TF: I was the brew master...sorry. I was the head brewer at Triple Rock in
Berkley for about a year and a quarter and that was the job that I got from the
hospital bed. And so when I got out, I started, you know, as soon as I could.
Basically I was injured on May 1st and July 1st I was starting my job and I only
had a crew cut this long and I had to take off my goofy hat because it was too
hot in the brewery. It was not, crew cuts were not really in style yet for girls
in 1989. So I started there and it was a great place and I learned a lot and
they were really supportive. My assistant brewer wasn't necessarily supportive
00:31:00because he wanted the job that I got and I had to prove to him every day why my
brewing school made me the right choice for that job. But the owners, especially
Reed Martin who hired me, really really believed in me, which was something that
was really important for me at the time, because having had to go through the
experience that I had where they shaved me head and gave me, put skin grafts on
my, the 11% of me that got burned, you lose a part of your identity because you
feel like you're not really a woman anymore when you lose all your hair and you
know I've had my, metaphorically I've had my identity feel like I lost it and it
takes it a while to gain back the confidence that you lost, so having Reed
Martin and his brother John Martin believe in me really made a difference for
me. And so I wouldn't have thought about leaving or considered leaving except
for the fact that it's really expensive in the San Francisco Bay Area and one of
00:32:00my personal dreams was to own a house and I still wanted to get to Oregon cause
there was still something in the back of my brain saying "you need to be in
Oregon." So every vacation I would go north, I'm a northern girl, I'm from
Wisconsin, so I go north. So now I think I'd like to go south because of days
like this when it's raining and cloudy, but then I was always going north in the
summertime for my vacations. And there was a magazine called American Brewer
Magazine published by Bill Owens and on about page 20 or 30, probably about page
20 there was a little blurb about something called the Oregon Brewer's Festival
was coming up in just a few weeks and it was like I said on page 20 and it was
going to be the first ever Oregon Brewer's Festival in 1988 and it was just
before I was going to leave for Siebel so I actually came up to Oregon and I met
some of the brewers at that point. And it's funny because I said "I'm coming and
I'm introducing myself because I'm heading to Siebel and when I come out I'm
00:33:00going to be coming here and I'm going to be talking to you and asking you about
a job," and they all said "go talk to Fred Bowman, he attended Siebel." "I don't
want to talk to somebody just because they attended Siebel, I'm trying to find a
job here people!" So when I did that, I also met more of the brewers up and down
the coast when I went on my job searching hunt at that point, but at this point
I'm at Triple Rock and I'm thinking "I'm here for a while, whatever." I came up
to the Oregon Brewers Guild again, it was the 3rd year they were having it, I
couldn't go to the 2nd year because I was just started at Triple Rock and I was
in training. So here it is the 3rd year of the Oregon Brewers Festival and it's
1990 and I go up there and here's this guy wearing a t-shirt that said "Brewer
wanted: Eugene, Oregon," "oh my gosh I have to talk to this guy, but there's my
owners over there, whoops and there's my assistant brewers, how am I going to do
this?" So I kind of had to wait until no one was looking and then I took my
00:34:00business card and I said "if you're looking for an experienced brewer, I have
over a year under my belt," say a year and a half between, at least a year and a
half between all the breweries I had worked for at that point, "call me." And
there weren't a lot of experienced brewers at that point, you know there's a lot
of home brewers who are crossing over, but very few experienced brewers. So sure
enough he called me, I think on Monday, oh and he said, he said "on your way
back, when you're heading back from the Oregon Brewer's Festival to California,
drop into Eugene and at the corner of 5th and Pearl that's where the brewery is
going to go in and it's across the parking lot from the -unintelligible word –
station, so I'm like "I don't know which building," and I'm like wandering
around trying to find which building, peeking in windows and there was a
building that was just a shell of a building being built and the inside was just
one floor and I'm like "it can't be that big," anyway that was the building that
it went into, right on the corner. And so um meanwhile, he called me on Monday
00:35:00and um because of my experience with my brewery at the brewery that I had,
excuse me, because of my experience at Golden Gate where I had been injured and
they had also bounced paychecks and there was a lot of really weird weird stuff
going on I wanted to make sure that before I quit Triple Rock, which is a for
sure thing and was at that point a 5-year-old brewery um that, that there would
be stability there because I was very big in favor of receiving all my paychecks
I had due. So I asked him about the owners and their backgrounds and if they
didn't make any money at first, cause this is the 10th brewery going to be going
into Oregon and if you know what it looks like now there's almost 200 in Oregon,
so this was 1990 and there was probably even less than 9 at that point cause
several were probably open while we were trying to get open. But there was no
for sure thing, the industry didn't look anything like it did now, so after me
00:36:00almost interviewing him, he said "well I'm coming down there"... no what did he
say? Basically they gave me an offer by Thursday, I think he actually drove down
that week and I said "bring some soda canisters," we call em' Cornelius Cans and
I'll fill em' up with some beer and you can bring it back," because he said
"well we don't know what your beer tastes like," "come on down and drink it," I
said. Came down, he drank some, he grabbed a Cornelius, brought it back to
Oregon, all within the space of a few days and the owners up here of Steelhead,
that were trying to get Steelhead open, they taste this, it sounds good to me. I
gave notice on Friday, and I gave a month notice at Triple Rock, you know, and I
found and trained my replacement and I was hoping to have a few weeks off in
between moving my stuff to Oregon, but I had to go back to Triple Rock then and
train my replacement and then I came back and I started almost right away. The
Oregon Brewer's Festival was the last weekend in July and then I was hired about
00:37:00a week later, I gave a month notice, after that I all my stuff up, my parents
flew out and helped me the driving the big moving van, not that I had a lot of
stuff, but I had enough and they needed a vacation. So we drove all my stuff up
to Eugene, I also had to find a place to live in between there, so I found a
place to live. We drove it all up at the end of August and I started September
17th 1990 at Steelhead and got that brewery off to a great start and we opened
in January of 1991 with all the tanks full of beer to a line around the corner
and um I will say that a lot of people were interested, but they didn't really
know what it was.
TE: Were there any other micro-breweries in the Oregon... or in Eugene?
TF: The only one in Eugene at that point was McMenamin's High Street, so that
was the only one and that had a reputation of being a hippie hangout and so a
lot of people who were not, say hippies, didn't want to go there. Eugene is
00:38:00interesting like that because there's definitely different factions who don't
necessarily want to hang out at the same places. Steelhead I think was able to
bring some of those factions together. Some of the owners of Steelhead were
really into the golf scene, so all of their country club friends would come in
and visit and the beer was great, the food was great, the ambience reminded one
of a nice large British pub with the foam booth in the middle of the room and
everything and fake British pub art on the walls and um people loved it from the
beginning and we did uh have to educate people, "what's an ale versus a beer?
What's a lager? Well how is micro-brewed beer different from regular beer?
What's a microbrewery versus a brewpub?" I mean these kinds of questions aren't
00:39:00asked anymore and certainly the same words are not even used anymore, but those
were the questions we got back then. "What's the difference between aroma and
bouquet?" That question is a little more sophisticated and came a little later,
but we had information sheets that we would put out for years that I typed out,
that I wrote up that had these questions and their answers on them because a big
part of what we did, not just me, but all of us that were basically brewing at
breweries in the early 1990's, was educating the public. I mean now you can go
into any pub, bar, tavern or restaurant in Oregon and there will be a
craft-brewed beer there, back then, you had to seek them out, they were not
common, we could get Bridgeport Blue-Herring and once in a while Black-Butte
Porter and those were pretty much the only beers that were not made in Eugene
that you could get in Eugene, that was it, other than that it was Coors, Bud,
TE: Did you feel like people in the early 90's period were pretty open though to
trying new things, did they feel experimental or did they say "well, I think
I'll just take a Coors?"
TF: Some of them were, some of them had tried craft beer, but the quality level
was very spotty, so first of all a lot of them wouldn't believe that it was
beer, "well that's black-colored, that's not beer, beer is yellow, has head on
top and is fizzy and tastes like bitter soda-water or something," so then you
start making something like a stout, you know, and it's a little more like
coffee or chocolate and they don't know what to do with it because it's the
wrong color, it doesn't taste the same, so there's a lot of education about that
too. I would say that the average person was not necessarily very experimental,
00:41:00but people in my age demographic which at the time we were in our 30's,
post-college, and it is a college town. The post-college crowd was definitely
more into it, however they were also into cheap, because Eugene was never famous
in those days for being a wealthy town, that's for sure. In fact when I moved to
town the only person who had a really nice car was my boss, everyone pretty much
drove beaters. And Eugene was still recovering from the lumber crash in Oregon
in 1978 and when the housing prices crashed and it wasn't until about 1991,
92'that housing actually recovered where it had been when it crashed in about
81'. So it took 10 years or more for those houses that had, you know, been at
100,000, dropped to 50, to make their way back. People told me about in the
80's, like 1985, if there was 1 job and it was a janitor job, there was 300
00:42:00people in line in the pouring rain and they started showing up at midnight for
8-o-clock taking your application, it was really depressed and I didn't see that
change until 93'. So that, I mean 1978 to 1993, that's a really long recession
that people don't really remember how bad it was in Oregon and Eugene definitely
was a part of that cause it had a very strong lumber-based economy at the time,
it's different now, it has a big regional hospital, it has a strong university
component, but it was really really heavily lumber-dependent back in the day.
It's much more diverse now with hi-tech going on and everything, but I think
that Steelhead coming in when it did made it a more attractive place for when
let's say Symantec wanted to move their call-center from Palo Alto to somewhere
else. So I think that the brew pubs and breweries along the way have just
00:43:00increased the quality of life and the attractiveness of Oregon and certain
cities in Oregon as a destination for corporations and businesses to move to or
TE: And so how did you, when did you start seeing new breweries opening up, when
did you leave Steelhead and then what was that, that time from when you started
to when you left, the brewing scene, how was its evolution going.
-Cameraman faintly talking-
TF: heh that's a lot more comfortable. Go? Good?
TE: Do you need water or anything?
TF: No I'm okay. Thanks.
-Cameraman faintly talking-
TF: Well I'm funnier with a beer so it's up to you guys (laughs).
TF: Seriously, it's up to you guys, I don't care. So I started at Steelhead as I
00:44:00said September 17th 1990. We opened January 22nd, I think it was January 22nd
1991, maybe it was January 21st, but I think it was the 22nd and I was there for
almost 17 years, a long time and I saw a lot of things changing. I saw in the
1990's a real rush in people getting the idea that they wanted to open
breweries, more and more breweries opening and people entering the brewing
industry as owners who had this idea that they could make a killing and they
could open a brewery, they could sell it for tons of money and that's always a
bad idea to think that that's possible, because that's really kind of a strange
bubble when that happens. So there's a lot of new breweries being made, sorry, a
lot of new breweries being built and opening. So a lot of my peers were job
hopping just for fun, because they could go, every year they would have a new
00:45:00brew master job somewhere else, it's very exciting opening new breweries and
they were bumping their salary every time they jumped, but it's, it ended up
being a little like playing musical chairs, because in about 1995 the industry
tripped and stumbled just a little and then it started, it was like a giant,
like a giant child with really short legs who started falling, couldn't, tripped
on a pebble, couldn't quite keep up and so there was a lot of capacity and a lot
of breweries being built, but the consumer base hadn't quite matched the growth
and then so starting in late 1995, but really starting to be noticed in 96 and
continuing through about 2001, 2002, our little bubble burst and it was as I
said in the early 90's up through about maybe 96ish, you saw the musical chairs
00:46:00of the brewers going here, going there and all of the sudden if they're between
jobs and they didn't time it just right, they weren't finding a job because
breweries were closing. A lot of closings and a lot of equipment getting
auctioned off really cheap, really cheap. And previous to that it was really
hard to find breweries, during that growth phase in let's say 93, 94, 95 a
couple of new brewing schools got started, not all of them survived, some new
tank manufacturers got started, not all of them survived. It was a long
bubble-breaking, beer-industry recession, as I said it was really prevalent from
1996 for sure through probably I would say 2001, pretty strong and that's a
5-year really strong correction in a market, it was tough and it was tough for a
lot of brewers, you know they went, a lot of brewers just ended up somehow not
having that job and so they ended up in web-page design cause that was growing
00:47:00at the time and the whole tech bubble was growing, so a lot of brewers who
couldn't get jobs, I mean let's face it we're science and art-oriented and why
not website-design, I guess that's kind of science and art-oriented in its own
way too. And me, I'm a stability person, I'm just a very stable type of person,
so I ended up staying at Steelhead the whole time and then right about the time
I left we started going into another little bit of a bubble, it was kind of
interesting. I quit Steelhead for multitudes of reasons, but one of them also
was to go on a road trip and this road trip, I called it the road-brew... I
called myself the road-brewer and I visited about 70 breweries and I brewed at
38 of them, so I was, nowadays we'd call me a gypsy-brewer, we didn't have that
name back then, but I went on the road and I was brewing with different