Deschutes Brewery, Boneyard Beer to merge in ‘Dream Team’ joint venture

Deschutes Brewery and Boneyard Beer on Wednesday announced they will merge and form a partnership that “provides an opportunity to expand Boneyard’s availability” throughout the Pacific Northwest.

“I’m most excited about the opportunity this union provides both companies,” Deschutes Brewery Founder Gary Fish said in a statement. “Boneyard’s rebel spirit and independent attitude will be great for Deschutes.”

According to the statement, the two Bend breweries will retain their separate identities.

“I cut my teeth at Deschutes and it’s still a home of sorts,” said Tony Lawrence who founded Boneyard in 2010. “It was an integral part of my personal and professional journey. My experience as a 21-year-old snowboard transplant falling into the Deschutes orbit was amazing. It gave me a direction to follow and an opportunity in both Bend and craft beer. To combine forces with Deschutes in Bend and explore what Boneyard is capable of is simply a dream come true.”

Deschutes Brewery, founded in 1988, is the 11th largest craft brewer in the country and the 21st largest brewer overall, according to a 2020 report from the Brewers Association.

It has pubs in Bend and Portland and an additional tasting room in Roanoke, Va. where it scrapped plans to expand its brewing operation in 2019.

Deschutes’ distribution stretches across 31 states.

Boneyard opened in an old auto shop tucked away in a neighborhood off the Parkway using cast-away brewing equipment – hence the name “Boneyard.”

It opened a new brewpub on Division Street in July 2018 and expanded its canning and package sales.

“This partnership is built on relationships,” Fish said. “Family and employee-owned, our two breweries become a collection of inspired people maintaining their individualistic free spirit and undying vision for what beer can be. I am beyond proud of what Tony has accomplished in Boneyard and am thrilled to be working with him again.”

For Fish and Lawrence, this reunion is nearly 30 years in the making.

Both industry icons share an enthusiasm for craft beer, appreciate the significance of both breweries being based in Bend, share roots of being family-owned businesses, and have the cherished memories of carving out and exploring a fledgling industry in the late 1980s.

Lawrence explained that throughout his 12 years at Deschutes, Fish gave him the autonomy to creatively figure out complex challenges during years of explosive growth that can often stunt the growth of a young company.

“He never doubted or challenged our efforts,” said Lawrence who’s looking forward to redirecting some of his attention from the boardroom to the brewhouse. “I whole-heartedly believe we can do great things together; we have respect for our roots and we’re proud of our journey, but that journey is far from over.”

 

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