By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Deschutes Brewery laid off 300 employees in late March after closing their pubs and taprooms in Bend and Portland.
Two weeks later, a handful of those employees were back working under contract to Humm Kombucha, in Bend.
Humm Kombucha was gearing up to deliver a half a million cases of its fermented tea to Costcos across the country when the company they outsourced to package the product had to step away.
About the same time, Deschutes Brewery was laying people off due to COVID 19-related slowdowns in the beer and pub industry.
The two companies got to talking and identified 14 Deschutes staffers with skills Humm needed. The Brewery employees were hired, under contract, to help the Kombucha maker fulfill its massive Costco order.
“They are amazing. It’s been a really interesting experience working with the entire crew from another company. It really speaks to Deschutes’ quality, the work quality that they produce,” said Mackenzie Stabler, Humm Kombucha director of operations. “All their staff have amazing attention to detail. Solid work ethic, great attitude. They are really a fun group to be around.”
Deschutes Brewery employees now at Humm Kombucha include line cooks, taproom personnel, a forklift operator, and people with packaging experience.
“You pop into that facility, they are all smiling. They are doing a killer job. They are doing work well beyond what I had any expectation of,” Stabler said.
“We were in a lot of trouble and we needed to get these packed. This is a really big deal and 14 people is a lot of people,” said Jamie Danek, Humm Kombucha founder. “The fact that Deschutes had to let go of some staff due to the tap room closing and Humm was able to pick them up, it’s a super big win. It’s great to have partners like that.”
The contract work for Deschutes Brewery employees at Humm Kombucha is expected to last three months. It could be longer if there is more demand for the product.