ASHLAND, Ore. — According to the Oregon Brewers Guild, there are currently 136 companies operating 169 brewing facilities in 62 cities in the state. That makes Oregon the second largest producer of craft beer in the country.
Knowing that, you’ll understand why Ashland’s Caldera Brewing Company had to expand. “We couldn’t keep up! We were losing money right and left hand over fist, not being able to produce the beer we needed to sell,” said Caldera’s Ray Cato.
The new Caldera Brewing Company broke ground in March of 2012. It finally opened Friday to facilitate a much bigger operation.
“We were making about four palettes a day at the old brewery and now we can make 39 palettes a day of beer,” explained Cato.
Caldera claims to be the first brewery in the state to produce canned beer in-house. “That’s where we get our growth is people that want the best beer they can in a can because bottles, they won’t work everywhere.”
After this expansion settles in, you can expect even more from the company. “Phase two of Caldera Brewing Company is to open a distillery and to make liquor. We’re going to have soda pop, liquor and great beer,” said Cato.
Ashland Chamber of Commerce supports the venture. Officials say it taps into the more than 300,000 visitors coming through the city each year.
“Tourism is definitely the front door to Ashland’s economy. It’s really a huge economic driver and Ashland is our tourism right so it’s service industries from restaurants to lodging and such but to be able to have these artisans that create these other experiences that are new that strengthens the community for everyone,” said Chamber of Commerce’s Katharine Flanagan.