|Vasilios Gletsos / Chad Kennedy|
Updated 10:15pm Friday 7/1 with Comments from Vasilios. Scroll to bottom
Laurelwood announced today that acclaimed brewer Vasilios Gletsos would be filling the shoes of departing Brewmaster Chad Kennedy. Many in the beer community know Vasilios as one of the most knowledgeable brewers around. He has spent time at BJ's, with Alex Ganum of Upright Brewing taking the reins when he left, then with Van Havig at Rock Bottom, and, more recently, at Pyramid/Mac's heading up the MacTarnahan's line of beers and injecting some fresh new beers and styles. While I am happy to see him capably fill Chad Kennedy's shoes, I am sad that he is not going to be making some of the more experimental and small run batches he was planning to do on the revitalized Pyramid pilot system in Seattle. But there is even more to the news: Laurelwood brand ambassador and marketing guy Micah Camden leaving to take on a job with Oakshire. He'll be doing sales for them, looking to foster their continued growth and leading the push more into the Portland market, as well as Seattle (probably sooner than later).
Recently I visited the main Laurelwood pub on NE Sandy and found the Workhorse IPA out. I jokingly blamed Chad Kennedy's departure, but the real reason is the demand for Laurelwood's beers--the IPA in particular is in too high demand for the modestly sized brewery, which has an increasing market to supply in Seattle. Laurelwood owner Mike DeKalb, whom I interviewed recently, tells me that Vasilios will be assisting them in opening up a brand new production brewery in a big box building of some kind. The early speculation is that they are still working out logistics including funding and location, but this sounds like a terrific opportunity for Vasilios, and for Laurelwood to expand.
The departing Chad Kennedy announced via social media that he was going to Bend to help open a new brewery. Details on that new venture have been scarce, but tips I have received point to a production-based brewery opened by a founder of Point Blank distributors and Chad that will have a 50 barrel brewhouse. I wondered what ever happened to the small nano system that Chad and Mike at Laurelwood told me about not long ago that they were trying to get started up in their Battle Ground, WA location. Chad promised Mike he would do a brew on that system, and today (June 30th) is Chad's last day at Laurelwood, so he is spending it in Battle Ground fulfilling his promise. Tomorrow he plans to announce more details on the new Bend venture. Congratulations and good luck to him and Vasilios on the future.
Vasilios shared this comment with me on the news of the new gig:
"it's an honor, as a brewer, to go to work for Laurelwood. I have the highest respect for the brewers who have worked there and the ones that still do. Chad has put so much of himself into that brewery, I hope to bring that some level of passion to my work with the team there. I am really proud of the beers we came up with for Mactarnahan's and Pyramid, from the standards to the one-offs, and I will miss all the brewers, bottlers, marketers, admin, maintenance & lab folks that made great beer happen each and every day. I am also really thankful to brew in the best place in the world to do so, and am totally devoted to all the brewers, bloggers, bar owners and beer geeks that have made Portland beervana, and support and rewarding me for doing what I love. Thanks a bunch for all you do and cheers! Let's raise a glass to Oregon and Beer Month. See you around."