Reporter Steve Tool recently let us know that Terminal Gravity Brewing was expanding with a new business in the old Mutiny Brewing building on Main Street in Joseph. The new business, Eastfork Brewery, just had its liquor license approved by Joseph City Council.

Rumors about this had been making the rounds for some time, but that liquor license made it official. I stopped in to talk to Terminal Gravity co-owner Randy Slinker and marketing and sales manager Kevin Harlander the other day for details.

TG owners Ed Millar, Dean and Rosa Duquette, and Randy and Pam Slinker, along with special projects manager Natalie Millar, brewer and production manager Josh Evans and marketing guy Kevin Harlander have been talking about opening a new location for a while.

“We felt we could use a presence in Joseph,” said Slinker. “It also gives us the opportunity to open an additional pub with an additional brewery.”

The reason that an additional smaller brewery is important is because TG puts out beer in 30 to 35 keg batches. That’s a lot of brew. By leasing the Mutiny Brewing location TG –– or rather, Eastfork Brewery –– will be able to make some really special small batches.

We’re talking really special.

Everything that is produced at Eastfork Brewery will eventually be available nowhere else in the world, said Harlander.

The beer experts have been experimenting all along. One of those experiments you may have enjoyed was aging the TG IPA in a Stein’s Brewery rye barrel for a few weeks.

Opening in Joseph also ticked off another goal on their communal list.

“We could build a pub in Portland or anywhere, but we have a big economic impact in the county and we talk about that often,” Harlander said. “We ask ourselves ‘how can we build a place that is important to people here?’ The nice part of what we’re doing is celebrating the place we live. We want to have a place that is an economic boost to the county and a place people are fond of going to. We want it to be acceptable to tourists and locals alike – and that’s a fine balance.”

That fine balance begins with locals and spreads to tourists, not the other way around, Slinker said.

“Locals are the lifeblood of our business,” Harlander agreed.

Maintaining that business model has resulted in Terminal Gravity celebrating 20 years, which makes it one of the grand-daddies of Oregon craft beers. Harlander estimates that more than half the breweries in business in Oregon are less than 15 years old and many are just a few years old. Dozens more gave brewing a try, but it didn’t pan out for them for them for one reason or another.

TG has been around long enough to see the once-tiny craft beer distributor that circulated TG brews grow from representing five or six brands to handling 65 brands.

That’s a lot of competition for the palate of the beer drinking public. How has TG done in that competitive field?

You be the judge.

No timeline has been declared for a Grand Opening of Eastfork Brewery. There is remodeling and a “ton of paperwork” yet to be done, Harlander said. So just keep watching and anticipating that only-available-here small batch that is coming your way.

Oregon’s Alpenfest has announced a change in vendors this year, naming The Dollar Stretcher and Sugar Time Bakery in Enterprise as its new food suppliers.

The appointments came after Alpenfest officials said they couldn’t reach an agreement with Mt. Joseph Family Foods in Joseph, which had been its food supplier since the festival was revived in 2012.

“We are incredibly sorry to lose Mt. Joseph as a major supporter,” Chuck Anderson, president and Alpenmeister, said. “Mt. Joseph has had our back since 2012, and we always will appreciate its help in getting our revived festival up and running.”

The Dollar Stretcher, the only independent grocer in Enterprise, will provide bratwurst, rolls and other supplies during summer Bratwagon sales and at the festival in September. Sugar Time will bake strudels for the summer sales and the festival.

Details of the 2017 edition of Oregon’s Alpenfest, successor to the historical Alpenfest 1975-2009, are at oregonalpenfest.com.

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