Father-and-son Bruce and Andy Rhine have acquired a majority stake in Bend, Oregon-based Cascade Lakes Brewing, the company announced Tuesday.
Speaking with Brewbound, Andy Rhine said he and his father purchased ownership stakes held by previous owners Rick Orazetti and Doug and Ron Kutella. The Rhines now own 75 percent of the 25-year-old company. Chris Justema, who invested in the company in 2003, owns the other 25 percent stake in the business and will serve as president.
The transaction closed on October 12, 2018, and the purchase price was not disclosed.
“We’re very much viewing this as a 10-, 20-, 30-year investment,” Rhine said. “We’re learning the business for the time being and not rushing into things.”
In a press release, Justema said he is “humbled by the Rhine family’s vote of confidence in Cascade Lakes Brewing Company.”
“Under this new structure, we will sharpen our focus on the quality of beer and the consistency of our products across the board,” he said. “There’s a new energy here to make better beer and build a stronger local presence in Central Oregon.”
Cascade Lakes operates a 25-barrel production facility in Redmond, Oregon, as well as two pubs — the 7th Street Brew House in Redmond and the Cascade Lakes Lodge in Bend.
Rhine told Brewbound that he “fell in love” with homebrewing after graduating from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 2017. Since then, he said his family explored opening a brewery and tapped brewery consultant Karl Ockert as an advisor. After meeting with several Bend brewery owners for advice — including Crux Fermentation founder Larry Sidor and 10 Barrel Brewing co-founder Chris Cox — the Rhines met with Justema, who said his partners were looking to exit the business.
Andy Rhine, a chemical engineer by trade, will now serve as Cascade Lakes’ director of brewing options, while his father will act as the company’s chairman.
According to Bruce Rhine’s Linkedin profile, he is a tech entrepreneur with “experience in startups, buyouts, private equity, angel investing and public company board governance.”
The Rhines have also hired former Deschutes Brewery assistant brewmaster Ryan Schmiege as head brewmaster.
“We have a pretty simple vision,” Rhine said. “Our priorities, especially operationally, are safety, quality, consistency and innovation.”
The Rhines have already invested in several upgrades to Cascade Lakes’ Redmond production facility, including the installation of a stainless steel structure to stabilize a brew deck catwalk. They have also replaced a corroded and cracked hot liquor tank, purchased a date coder and installed a one-barrel pilot system. Rhine added that the floor of the production facility was also sealed and coated with epoxy.
“We’re already seeing some noticeable changes in our beer quality and our perception,” he said.
Last year, Cascade Lakes sold 7,600 barrels of beer across its six state footprint. Top-selling beer Pineapple Kush IPA accounts for about 30 percent of the company’s output, Rhine said.
According to Rhine, several changes are on tap for the brewery, including transitioning from bottles to cans, launching a barrel-aging program and potentially opening more pubs in Oregon. He added that Cascade Lakes’ brewing team is also exploring beverages outside of traditional beer, such as CBD-infused drinks, hard seltzers and cider.
“Right now, we’re open to any and all options and we’ll adapt accordingly,” he said.
A press release with additional details can be found on the company’s blog.