Redmond, Oregon-based Cascade Lakes Brewing is one of the oldest breweries in central Oregon and has been a major player in the past, but in recent years seemed content to fade a little into a more obscure brand. Last week, the company announced in a newsletter that a new ownership group was taking over Cascade Lakes Brewing and had already begun a refresh that seems set to take the brewery back to being a more major Oregon player. In addition to the new ownership cash flow and vision, Cascade Lakes has brought on a key process and quality engineer, upgraded equipment, and most notably has hired long-time Deschutes Brewery assistant brewmaster Ryan Schmiege.
Cascade Lakes Brewing is 25 years old and has not had much of a brand refresh in many years. Other area breweries like Silver Moon and Bend Brewing have also gone through ownership changes and refreshes of their lineups that have kept the breweries fresh and in the conversation. Cascade Lakes seems past due for these updates.
Previous minority owner Chris Justema will stay with the company as a shareholder and president of Cascade Lakes Brewing. The new majority owners are father and son team Andy Rhine and Bruce Rhine.
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Bruce Rhine has strong ties to Central Oregon, as a former resident and as the CEO of Bend-based Accent Optical Technologies, a process control measurement company which was acquired in 2006 by Nanometrics of Milpitas, Calif.
“We are humbled by the Rhine family’s vote of confidence in Cascade Lakes Brewing Company” said Justema. “Under this new structure, we will sharpen our focus on the quality of beer and the consistency of our products across the board. There’s a new energy here to make better beer and build a stronger local presence in Central Oregon. I love this company and am stoked to be a part of this new chapter for Cascade Lakes Brewing.”
As part of its renewed commitment to quality and consistency, Cascade Lakes Brewing announced Andy Rhine, a chemical engineer and process specialist, as Cascade Lakes Brewing Company’s director of brewing operations. Andy Rhine graduated from elite engineering college Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and subsequently took positions as a process engineer and quality manager while home brewing on the side.
“I came on board not only because I love the product but what the product creates,” Andy Rhine said. “Cascade Lakes creates a welcoming, friendly environment unlike other business I have seen. I want to help maintain that familial culture and deliver a product whose quality is second to none.”
Andy Rhine said that his top three reasons for joining the Cascade Lakes Brewing team were getting to learn the business from Chris Justema, moving back to Central Oregon where he spent many years before college and helping to improve the overall quality of the product.
Cascade Lakes, brewer of the regionally iconic Blonde Bombshell and Salted Caramel Porter, also announced Ryan Schmiege as its new head brewmaster. Schmiege had been the assistant brewmaster at Deschutes Brewery for fifteen years. His duties there included managing brewing operations, barrel aging beers, cider and whiskey projects among others.
“I look forward to working with a talented crew at Cascade Lakes and bringing my experience to stabilize the quality of our existing portfolio and to create new beers that go to the heart of quality and drinkabililty,” said Schmiege. “We have the potential to create a stronger bond with consumers through our beers, and we intend to do that one beer at a time.”
ABOUT CASCADE LAKES BREWING COMPANY
Founded in 1994, Cascade Lakes Brewing started in a 1994 with a 10-barrel system in Redmond, Oregon. Twenty-five years later, the long nights and drive for great beer plays out on a larger scale. Today Cascade Lakes Brewing includes a state-of-the-art, 25-barrel brew house system, two brewpubs (7th Street Brew House in Redmond and Cascade Lakes Lodge in Bend. Cascade Lakes beer is distributed and sold in six states including Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Idaho and Montana. Cascade Lakes brews six beers year-round: Blonde Bombshell, 20” Brown, Pineapple Kush, Hopsmack IPA, Cyclops IPA and Salted Caramel Porter. Regular seasonals and specialties include: Slippery Slope, Elk Camp IPA, Cherry Blonde, Drop the MIC Pale Ale, Paulina Lake Pilsner, Silverback Imperial Stout, Angus MacDougal Amber, Rooster Tail Ale and others.