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Let The Barrels Rolls! Caldera Re-Opening

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On Thursday, June 4 at 4 pm, Caldera Brewing Company, southern Oregon’s largest brewery, reopens to the public. Over the next few days, Jim Mills is leading a number of meetings to talk with serving staff, kitchen staff and brewers about the new protocols. It will be a different world from the free-flowing, slap-the-neighbor-on-the-back atmosphere that characterized the brewery and restaurant; however, it will be open, a step back towards normalcy. (During this initial stage, the restaurant will not be open for lunch, on not Mon-Wedn.)

In-between the hustle to ramp up production and reopen, Mills answered a few questions for the Messenger.

RVM: A lot of your business is based on canning and shipping.  Has that slowed down?  I know that I’m still picking up my Lawnmower Lager!

JM: Canning and bottling continues, but without keg sales, our sales are down 60 percent.

RVM: How does the cancelation of the Shakespeare Festival and other big summer events affect business?

JM: Shakespeare always draws more people to town, but luckily we are on I-5 and get mostly locals, retired people and I-5 travelers.

RVM: Was this a pause button on the beer business in general, or what long-term impacts or changes do you anticipate? 

JM: I read from the Brewers Association that if the shut down lasts more than two months, 45 percent of U.S. breweries would go out of business.” Mills goes on to add that some of those closures may be normal market corrections. “This has been needing to happen for a couple of years now as there are way too many breweries now. When I started Caldera in 1997 there were around 650 breweries. Last Brewers Association count was 8400 breweries.”

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