We all know that Portland is famous for a variety of things—our amazing coffee, our wonderful variety of foods, and of course, our breweries! For those listeners who are 21 and up, you can agree and understand what I’m talking about when I say that Portland—and the Northwest in general—have given us amazing craft beer selections for years. So many amazing homegrown beers have come right out of our backyard, and this week, we have one of those talented and amazing people to tell us all about the process, and what it means to manage your own brewery.
John Harris is the founder and head brewer at Ecliptic Brewery, and this week, John tells us how he got started in the industry, what made him take a leap to open his own brewery, and the kind of products his amazing company has to offer. Additionally, he gives us an amazing sneak peek as to what running a brewery is all about. Let’s get started!
IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:
- Who John Harris is, and how he got started with Ecliptic Brewery! Starting in 1986, John brewed for McMenamins Hillsdale Brewpub for 2 years, before leaving in 1988 to become the founding Brewmaster at Deschutes Brewery. From there, he served as a Brewmaster at Full Sail Brewing in 1992, until just recently. He quit his job in 2012 to start his own company, and the rest is history!
- John also tells us why he started his own brewery, stating that the area of Portland he’d been living in and looking at really called for something that was suited to his needs, and was right up his alley. Starting his own company, at that very moment in time, just felt right. John then goes on to explain where the name for his company—Ecliptic Brewery—came from!
- John tells us the luck he’s had in the last year, with the name of his company coinciding with the solar eclipse. Due to that amazing planning, John got to create a special brew just for the occasion. And, though they only made 3,000 cases for the event, they sold out in a flash!
- John tells us how he got started into brewing, stating that it happened in the last 1980’s. After trying beers from microbrews, John noticed how much more flavor it had to offer compared to mainstream beers, and his interest was piqued right away. After buying his first homebrew kit, the rest was history, and John started pursuing this interest at a professional level!
- John tells us the process of finding the perfect building for his company, stating that it took him nearly a year after he quit his job to find the right match. It did come, thankfully, just before Christmas time in 2012, and after working to negotiate the lease for 3 more months, John had found his perfect location. The building is big, with lots of room for growth, has arrangements for outdoor seating, and is located in a very popular spot for nightlife in downtown Portland. And, after being there for the past 6 years, it looks like it’s going well!
- John confirms that most of the beer brewed at the headquarters does leave the restaurant, and gets shipped out to the Northwest area. Among them is the most popular beer they served, entitled the “Starbust IPA”. What started off as a special beer they brewed for the Portland Beer Week in 2015 became something of the best selling hit, and John’s been brewing it up ever since!
- John talks with us about the design of the cans, stating that the company in charge of their graphics—Sasquatch Creative Agency—does all of their base designs, and does a wonderful job with it! Additionally, their marketing manager Daria Stein creates her own graphics for social media marketing and advertisements, and with the combination of both, they work extremely well together. In fact, once they changed the logo, cans were flying off the shelf! The money spent is worth it if your product sells successfully.
- Finally, John tells us about the beers he currently has brewing, stating that they’ve got at least 6 or 7 going on at all times. Additionally, John tells us an anecdote about the craziest concoction he’s ever created, detailing a time where he used too much spruce to try and add spices to his brews!
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
Did John not get to answer a burning question on your mind? No problem! You can contact him through his email, John@eclipticbrewing.com, or at any of the social media listed above. You can tell in the way he talks about his company that John is passionate about what he does, and what he aims to do in the future with his amazing company! Please, check out their Instagram for wonderful pictures of what they’re brewing up, and make sure to pay them a visit if you’re ever in the area!