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Success brewing: Prineville gets first brewery

Published On: Jan 01 2013 07:54:26 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 01 2013 09:36:33 PM CST

There's a new brew scene in Central Oregon: Prineville. Solstice Brewing Company began its brewery in November.

PRINEVILLE, Ore. -

People living on the High Desert know breweries are a popular destination spot in Central Oregon.

And now you can add Prineville to the list.

Solstice Brewing Company, the only brewery in the city, recently put out its first micro-brew.

When a new business comes to Prineville, some locals are skeptical of its survival.

When Solstice Brewing Company first started, people thought it wouldn't last longer than three months. But the restaurant has been open for a year and a half and the brewery opened up in November.

When you think of beer in Central Oregon, people usually think of Bend, with its dozens of breweries. But now put Prineville on the map.

"There's a lot of people excited to have a local craft brewery on site," said Joseph Barker, owner of Solstice Brewing. "It has definitely helped the restaurant side, just because we are making better margins on our beers of course. But it also creates a better draw."

Barker opened Solstice Brewing Company as a restaurant 18 months ago, but he has always wanted to open a brewery.

"It's still a dream coming true -- but it's a lot of work," Barker said.

This is the first time venturing into a brewery business for Barker.

"The dream was always to have good beer and good food, and create a place where that can happen," Barker said.

Just a couple weeks ago, the company brewed its first beer: Prinetucky Pale Ale, a name that has gotten mixed reviews.

"We are a little backwards, so it's a little funny," Barker said. "But we always say, if you can't laugh at the name then you need to have another beer."

The pale ale is a light beer, not too hoppy and not too much alcohol.

It's their first offering, but certainly won't be their last. The brewery hopes to provide more offerings soon.

"We try to focus on being a local, community-operated venture," Barker said. "The goal is for us to have a successful brewpub that benefits the community."

The brewery is not just drawing community members to it, but visitors too. That means the brewery is helping to make Prineville a stop on the brew tour of Central Oregon.   

Barker said the brewery is focused on being local: Along with using a local water source for its beer, the company also uses local beef, cheese and bread in its restaurant.

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