Tonya Cornett & Ian Larkin at Bend Brewing © The New School
A multi award-winning institution of Oregon brewing, Bend Brewing Co. is being sold to new owners. The brewpub that gave birth to such acclaimed beers as Ching Ching, Hop Head Double IPA, and more recently gold medal-winning Salmonberry Sour has long been a downtown Bend landmark. Bend Brewing Co. is where nationally recognized brewer Tonya Cornett got her start, creating most of the award-winning lineup before moving on to 10 Barrel Brewing. Ian Larkin, Tonya’s assistant brewer, went on to succeed her and has kept the awards flowing, most notably with his own creation in Salmonberry Sour.
No word yet on who the new owners of Bend Brewing will be, but I am optimistic about the change. Story has been updated with comment from owner Wendi Day and Brewmaster Ian Larkin as well as an introduction to the new ownership.
The Bend Brewing Co. pub is not the tourist attraction it once was; the brewery is tiny and some of the equipment needs updating. It’s a miracle what gets produced there is such high quality. While the rest of Bend’s breweries have expanded and upgraded over the years, Bend Brewing has not, and it may be time for a refresh. Check out our Bend Brewing profile with Tonya from 2011. In a very similar situation, Bend’s Silver Moon Brewing had become pretty stagnant until it was sold to new owners in 2013, who have seriously upped the game with two big expansions, one we just announced yesterday in Redmond, Oregon. Could the new Bend Brewing Co. owners do the same? I would love to see more Ching Ching, and that Salmonberry Sour is practically impossible to get outside of the brewpub and at the GABF.
When reached for comment this morning, Brewmaster Ian Larkin said, “It’s true BBC is in the process of changing hands, this wasn’t much of a surprise to me. Wendi has been working hard for 20 yrs, and retirement was expected within the next 2 years anyway. I am excited about the prospect of long overdue improvements to the pub, and plans to have a production brewery within 2 years. All options are on the table, but this could be a very good thing for me, time will tell. “
UPDATE at 11:20 on 11/13/15
Established in 1995, the second oldest brew pub in Bend, Oregon, is excited to share the news that a new family will take ownership beginning January 2016. For twenty years owner Wendi Day, along with husband Rob and father, Jerry Fox, established the brewery into a downtown Bend staple that has a rich tradition of serving award winning craft beer & exceptional, made-to-order pub fare to families and friends alike.
“I am so proud of Bend Brewing Company, the people who I’ve worked with, the friends and families who have supported us over the years, and the recognition we have received in this amazing brewing community,” Wendi Day said.
The new owners, Packy and Leslie Deenihan, have been introduced to the BBC staff and both have been working closely with Wendi throughout the transition. “I am truly excited for this new opportunity and I would like to welcome Packy and Leslie to our BBC family,” added Day. Packy Deenihan is a graduate of Oregon State University and lived in Bend in 2008-09 before moving to Denver, Colorado, where he met his wife, Leslie. Leslie is a University of Colorado Boulder graduate and was also a member of their ski team. “We are thrilled to be taking over such a well respected & award winning brewery” said Packy Deenihan, and “we are especially impressed by the quality of staff at BBC and hope they all stay with us in this new chapter.”
Initially, Packy and Leslie will be focused on continuing to serve the loyal patrons of Bend Brewing Company. Going forward, they believe there is an opportunity to expand production & distribution of Bend Brewing Co.’s beer as well as having a stronger marketing and social media presence. Packy’s Dad, Ed, will also have a role at BBC, primarily focused on promoting the BBC brand and beer outside of Bend. Don’t expect too much change, though, the Deenihans are particularly focused on carrying on the tradition and culture that has made BBC so great 20 years later! See you at BBC!