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Portland’s Cascade Brewing has been sold

 

Long revered as a leader in the sour, barrel-aged beer arena, Cascade Brewing announced today that it has been sold. Nothing against the new owners, but this certainly does mark the end of an era. Art Larrance, one of the guys who co-founded the brewery back in 1996, has decided that it’s time to retire.

His longtime cohort and Cascade’s longtime brewmaster, Ron Gansberg, left the company abruptly a couple years ago. Art continued to carry the torch until now.

Saying that Art Larrance and Ron Gansberg were pioneers is like saying that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were whizkids. Or that Steven Hawking was good at math. Larrance and Gansberg introduced the NW beer scene to sour beers before sour beers were cool. Hell, they introduced us to sour beers before IPAs were cool.

Puckersome sour beers at Cascade Barrel House.
Puckersome sour beers at Cascade Barrel House.

I don’t really know what else to say beyond thank you. Thank you, Art. We are forever in your debt. Over the years you produced so many beers that left me speechless. Beers that soared on feathery wings, suspended effortlessly miles above the inadequate adjectives and meager superlatives that comprise my vocabulary. Simply beautiful beers.

The new owners (pictured below) are not at all carpetbaggers or newbies. These guys have solid backgrounds in the brewery and taproom business. Read more about them in the press release below.

Photo identification from top left clockwise: Mark & Kristi Becker, Ramie Mount, Brian Kovach and Greg Laird.
Photo identification from top left clockwise: Mark & Kristi Becker, Ramie Mount, Brian Kovach and Greg Laird.

Cascade Brewing announces sale to local group of brewery and taproom owners

(PORTLAND, Ore. –– April 2, 2020) –– After more than 20 years, one of Oregon’s founding fathers of Oregon beer is passing the torch. It was announced today that Art Larrance has sold Cascade Brewing to new owners. A capable and proven team of brewery and taproom owners––made up of Mark Becker, Ramie Mount, Brian Kovach and Greg Laird––has purchased the operation.

The deal is a phased transition sale of the company known as a pioneer in the sour beer renaissance. Both the existing production team and pub management will remain in place, and the Cascade Brewing Barrel House, Blending House and Lodge at Cascade Brewing will continue to operate. Larrance plans on retiring but will remain in an advisory position during the transition period while local, state and federal approvals are being obtained.

Becker, Mount, Kovach and Laird have diverse experience involving brewery ownership, restaurant operation, and taproom management. Becker, who began brewing in his parents’ house while still in high school, founded FlyBoy Brewery with his wife, Kristi, in Lake Oswego, Oregon, in 2014. Three years later, in 2017, they opened FlyBoy Brewery and Pub in Tigard, Oregon. Mount and Kovach, former software engineers, co-own FlyBoy Taproom in Lake Oswego. Laird took his background as a director of product and co-founded Parallel 45 Brewing in Independence, Oregon, in 2019.

“Art is a legend, and we deeply respect what he and his team have built at Cascade,” said Mount. “Our mission is to expand upon their vision, and we are incredibly excited for the opportunity to continue the legacy that Cascade started with its sour beer program in 2006. Art is irreplaceable, and we are thrilled he recognized enough competence in our combined experience to continue Cascade Brewing’s stellar reputation.”

According to Larrance, “It’s time for me to retire and pass the brewery on to a team that’s fresh and full of energy and ideas. I trust this group will do Cascade Brewing proud.”

Financial details of the sale are to remain private. Principals of Arlington Capital Advisors acted as exclusive financial advisors to Cascade Brewing.

Founded in Portland in 1998, Cascade Brewing’s distinctive sour beer blends feature fruit-forward, barrel-aged ales with an emphasis on project year-to-year variation. These beers offer a complex array of flavors derived from the acid, the fruit and the residual flavors present in the barrels in which they age. The resulting beers offer a complex array of flavors and aromas derived from each project year release, capturing the unique subtleties of that year’s growing season. Cascade Brewing’s beers are collected by sour fans and connoisseurs around the world.

Larrance, who recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oregon Brewers Guild, has been involved in Oregon’s craft beer industry since its inception and is considered one of the seven founding fathers of the Oregon craft brewing industry. He co-founded one of the state’s first microbreweries, Portland Brewing, as well as the Oregon Brewers Festival, which today is one of the world’s preeminent craft beer festivals; he will retain ownership of and operate the Oregon Brewers Festival. Larrance helped pass Oregon’s Brewpub law, paving the way for scores of pubs since. He founded Cascade Brewing in 1998, and in 2006, worked with his brewmaster, Ron Gansberg, on an aging and blending program that would lead to countless awards and an entirely new style of beer known as the Northwest Sour Ale.