|Jack Joyce, Bob Woodell (past U of O fraternity brothers), and another friend, Rob Strasser, were approached by Jeff Schultz, Bob’s accountant, and an avid home brewer.
Construction began in June of 1988 in Ashland along a very scenic little stream called Lithia Creek. The 10 bbl brew system was set up in a basement with a 60 seat Pub above. The first brews were Amber and Gold. The Brewery and Pub opened in October 1988.
While the Brew Pub was located in a very pretty and scenic location, had a beautiful deck and enjoyed moderate success and the beer was great, Ashland was not to be Rogue’s only adventure. Ashland was basically land locked, and frankly we were losing our butts in Ashland, trying to sell our hand-crafted ales. Rogue needed room to grow and grow we did. So Jack set off in search of greener pastures.
In early February of 1989, Jack wandered to Newport in search of the perfect place for another Rogue Pub. Legend has it that a terrible and unusual snow storm struck and Jack found himself stranded on the Historic Bay Front, with no way up the hill. He was forced to walk the streets until he met up with Mohave Niemi, founder of the famous Mo’s Clam Chowder. She took him to the original Mo’s restaurant, gave him a bowl of hot clam chowder and told him about her dream of living above a Bar and how she might just have the perfect spot for the next Rogue Brew Pub. The large building sported 3 full time apartments upstairs, a sweater shop, an Art Gallery and 1,100 sq. ft. of empty store front and an 800 sq. ft. garage that was currently being used to store antique cars. Mo offered the vacant space and the garage to Jack at a very generous price, under two stipulations: that a picture of Mo herself, naked in a bath tub, be forever displayed at the Pub (it’s still there today just to the left of the Bar) and that Rogue ”feed the fisherman”, meaning that we give back to the local community. This building was known as the Front & Case Bldg.
In Feb of 1989, construction began on the Bay Front Brew Pub. Making this a step up in the world by going from a basement in Ashland to a garage in Newport. The front of the house also was being readied. The back bar was originally from the old Elk Tavern.
In May of 1989, John Maier joins Rogue after a stint with Alaska Brewing. John is a former Senior Technician with Hughes Aircraft Co. in El Segundo, CA from 1975 to 1986 and Seibel Institute graduate.
The Pub opened in May of 1989, with a small but enthusiastic customer base, made up of curious locals who dropped by to see what was going on and never left. Many joined in and helped with the construction and other projects as needed. The names of many of these early customers have been immortalized with brass plaques that grace the bar today. One of the most notable of these future customers was Chuck Linquist. He was retired, was a home brewer, and had an interest in microbrews. He was also bored and wanted to do something useful. We consider him one of our first employees. His handiwork is still visible at the Pub, the shelves that line the bar area, the light sconces, as well as the memorabilia on the shelf above Mo’s picture, that Chuck brought back from Europe.
So begins the story of Rogue Ales, enjoy!