Oregon Brewers Shift Gigs

As breweries’ mash tuns slow to a winter grind, craft beer news is slow in Oregon and around the country as drinkers huddle around their home fires to do their drinking. Even so, there have been quite a few recent shifts in local brewing teams.

Scott Guckel – Photo from The Oregonian

Old Town Brewing’s first and only Brewmaster, Scott Guckel, recently announced that he would be leaving the recently opened startup brewery to become the first brewery employee at Gigantic Brewing in addition to owners Van Havig and Ben Love. Old Town Brewing’s owner Adam Milne is currently seeking a new brewer to manage the pub operation, which is looking to begin distributing its beers shortly. Currently the NE MLK location has a very popular CDA on draft and just released a brand new Scotch Ale.

Daniel J. Pollard after Pelican captured a Silver Medal at the GABF this year

Pelican Brewery is losing two longstanding employees with Head Brewer Todd Campbell heading into retirement and Senior Brewer Daniel Pollard moving on. Pollard has announced his move to become Head Brewer at new startup Bridger Brewing in Bozeman, Montana. This comes on the heels of another recent defection of Pelican brewer Mike Johnson to Portland’s Laurelwood Brewery, and shortly before that, Pelican’s addition of Whitney Burnside previously of Elysian Brewing. This likely leaves a number of positions to be filled before opening of Pelican’snew Tillamook brewery. I personally don’t know Mr. Campbell, but friend of The New School Daniel Pollard will certainly be missed in Oregon after his 4 years at Pelican. On his new gig at Bridger Brewing, Daniel says it’s “a 10bbl brewpub opening in February. We’ll be serving a variety of beer styles and making gourmet pizza, everything as local as possible. The brewpub is at1609 S. 11th Ave in downtownBozeman‎. We’re right across the street from the Montana State University campus. Only a block or so north of the football stadium.” If I ever get to Montana, I will be sure to make this a must visit. I can’t wait to try what he comes up with when left to his own devices.

Bolt Minister photo by Matt Wiater – PortlandBeer.org

Bolt Minister has left Walking Man Brewing for Pyramid Brewing. Walking Man has not had a stable brewer since Jacob Leonard left for Widmer Brothers, and then subsequently joined Breakside Brewery. After Jacob’s departure, assistant brewer Dan Munch took over before he too left for Widmer. Bolt Minister then took the reigns at Walking Man after leaving his Head Brewer position at Rock Bottom Brewery, but has now accepted a position at Pyramid. Bolt’s assistant Cory McGuinness, previously of TallGrass Brewing in Oklahoma, is now serving as Head Brewer.

Dan Peterson on his first brewday- photo courtesty of Josh Pfriem

Congratulations to pFriem Family Brewers, which was recently picked as Runner-Up Best New Brewer by The New School and has just hired its first brewery employee, Dan Peterson. It’s a great sign to see new breweries like pFriem becoming successful enough to already begin growing. Peterson, like owner/brewmaster Josh Pfriem, comes from Full Sail Brewing, but also has serious cred helping Brooklyn Brewery start up its barrel program and lab. He will be doing the same for pFriem as the brewery begins to set up its barrel-aging program and roll out a selection of rotating farmhouse-style ales.

Totally Unverified Rumor:
Ben Edmunds of Breakside Brewery, after learning his brewery did not get nominated for “Best Brewpub” and upon hearing the news that “Bizarre Ingredients” was voted worst trend of the year, will vacate his post and devote a year to going back to “the fundamentals of beer” as a new Head Brewer at Pints Urban Brewing in Old Town. We suggest Zach Beckwith as a possible replacement for Ben at Breakside.

Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: SamuraiArtist@NewSchoolBeer.com


  • Anonymous
    Fri Jan 4, 2013 5:41 PM

    The grass is always greener….

    Best of luck in all these new endeavors!

    • Steve Panos - Pelican Brewery Manager
      Steve Panos - Pelican Brewery Manager
      Tue Jan 8, 2013 2:13 PM

      You failed to mention the addition of Waylon McCallister to the Pelican brewing team. Waylon also joined us from Elysian and is a very experience production lead who will be instrumental to increasing production while getting the Tillamook facility online.

      We also wish Todd, instrumental to the production of eight years of award winning beers at the Pelican, all the best as he embarks on a well-deserved retirement. As for the loss of Mike and Daniel; the brewery may never recover from the loss of style they contributed. Our world is a less dapper place without them. They both bring a variety of skills (brewing and civilian) to their new positions and we look forward to crossing paths with them again in our still surprisingly small industry.

      Happy trails, gents…