Just a little disclaimer: The below statement may not be true, but greatly exaggerated, and dip into what I view as my interpretation of the whole journey (as is true of all my posts regarding Solstice). Of course it could just be true too!
Our journey with Solstice began over 3 years ago, as the recession was beginning in 2008, Joe had already begun pondering his future as he graduated college. Through college he worked for family friend Mark milling custom woodwork and now continued with Bowman Company full-time in the small custom millwork shop in Boring, Oregon. Joe’s interests included studying law, creating a space for people to gather around great food and even better microbrew, and other lesser interests. As things fleshed themselves out, he settled on pursuing a great neighborhood public house and brewery.
If you have ever been through starting a business, you learn that even coming up with the right name is instrumental to who you are and what you become, or at least it is a little less confusing in explaining your identity. We started with a name of Loowit which captured a big part of our love for the northwest, being situated among the Cascade Mountains. Loowit is the Native American name for Mount St. Helens and is explained well through to story of the Bridge of the Gods tale (http://www.mtsthelens.net/MtStHelensNet/bridgeofgods.html). Loowit wasn’t registered as a business in Oregon or Washington, but after having our graphic design buddy create a logo, we found Loowit Brewing Company was a place to come in Vancouver, WA and they were registered on the web which made them in the realm of public domain and hence the search for our identity continued. We sat in Joe’s basement sampling great homemade brews and randomly shooting out names with much surprise at how many names were already registered on the web, even the ones we came up with that we thought could never be out there (ex. Laughing Ass Brewing Company). They were! It was September 22, 2009, the Fall Equinox, that I searched for Equinox brewing and of course a guy had a homebrew looking web site, so I thought what about Solstice Brewing Company. There was a Solstice in the UK without any activity for years and business shut down. I shot it to Joe and our friend Spencer to get their reaction and it was unanimous! A web address was purchased and BC Brewing started doing business as Solstice Brewing Company.
Now Solstice is more than a name, it is part of the rhythm of life and this suited us well. Joe really wanted to create a space to do life with a community, create a place where they can do life together and doing this around a great atmosphere, with great food, and even better beer. Our desire was to do so with fresh and local meats, produce, and the like. Foods would be seasonal, and being fresh, they last until the fresh supply is exhausted for that day or week. Food is committed to this rhythm described by solstice (winter, summer, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solstice) and equinox (fall, spring, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equinox), and we are as connected to it as our food and materials that we depend on every day. Yah, I could ramble on about how you and I identify with solstice, but you’ll have to come into the public house and see. And I will ramble on more later…
We thought, searched, prayed and searched some more and settled on an area in SE Portland, Woodstock neighborhood. We chased after this area for over a year and a half. There were so many supporters in the area, we had great showings for beer tasting in the neighborhood, but who wouldn’t show up for free beer! Marc Goudin of “The Joinery”, Dave Mansot a culinary artist, the small business association of Woodstock, Mark Perkins, Stephen Aiger of “Green Hammer Construction”, and many locals in the area were more than stoked, willing to point us to possibilities to make this dream come true. We owe them all so much in keeping us going through such a challenging time of the business formation. Unfortunately the economy, the investment dollars and the cost to start up a brewing in the area was beyond realistic for us at this time. We still love you Woodstock and hope to have our beer in your hands first in Portland.
So Joe packed up and headed out on a quest. We had friends all over who wanted us to start a brewery in their town, of course. A couple though stood out as promising, Bruce and Kathy Meyer and John and Lori Jones and our good friends Travis and Megan kept saying, “You guys gotta come down to Prineville and visit all the potential and promise it has to offer.” As Joe arrived into Prineville, something hit home as he grew up small town, around the area of La Grande, Oregon. As he was shown around town he saw the potential our friends had been talking about and as his wife visited, it was confirmed that this was going to be their new home, away from the traffic and hustle and bustle of Portland which had worked well for college and newlyweds, but not for the next stage of their life. The space they visited was perfect, over 4800 square feet, a bar in place and a kitchen partial usable, and the rest of the elements were a perfect recipe for what Joseph was looking for. Letters went out to our support and all were unanimously in favor of continuing in the investment of giving Solstice a face, a taste, and an address in the Barker’s new home of Prineville, Oregon.
And now here we are! Sandwiched between the Prineville Historical Museum (A. R. Bowman Museum: http://www.bowmanmuseum.org/) and the Pine Theatre (http://www.pinetheater.com/), and Solstice is the meat (I know that’s bad). Now all you have to do is come and partake in history in the making. Joe has put a lot of personal touches that are in the beginning stages. The table tops and bar were all created by Mark Bowman from the custom millwork shop Joe worked at. The hood was cleaned and shined by Spencer Reynolds and Steve McCorkle. Wire was pulled, insulation stuffed, and old dance floors torn out and floors ground down with the help of John Jones and Bruce Meyer, and Tate, and many of you I do not know yet. Travis Hallman painted the inside and so many of you jumped in and helped make Solstice be. Thanks so much to you all of you! Cheers!