Sunriver Brewing started in the small resort town of Sunriver, just 20 minutes outside of Bend. In 2012, the Cameron family’s vision was two small brewing tanks in a pub that would serve food and award-winning beers. The idea grew into a dream for a full-on restaurant and a complete brewery that would begin in the Village in Sunriver before moving to the second location in Bend. Now, Sunriver Brewing has set its sights on expanding across Oregon by taking over the Hot Mama’s Kitchen and Bar location at Oakway Center in Eugene.
The new location is set to open in March, according to a press release provided to the Daily Emerald.
Sunriver Brewing had been looking to move into other areas in the Pacific Northwest since 2017; the search spanned any city that was within eight hours of Sunriver. After a large, local outpouring of support, the owners settled on Eugene.
“Out of all the places, this is the place we really had the most feedback that was positive,” said Ryan Duley, director of sales and marketing for Sunriver Brewing. “People here were just really stoked about the idea.”
More specifically, Duley said community members from the area around Coburg road wanted to bring Sunriver Brewing into the Oakway mix. The support stems from all the customers that Sunriver Brewing has served over the years. “It goes back to listening to what the people around Eugene were saying,” Duley said. “The best asset we had were the people in Eugene, and they were telling us this was the area to go to.”
What Sunriver Brewing is bringing to the area is different than the food truck fad that is going around Eugene breweries. Instead, Sunriver Brewing is opting to have a full, gourmet menu to go along with their craft brews. The combined experience of the Cameron family and Duley, mixed with the experience of Brew Master Brett Thomas, strikes a perfect balance between beer and food.
Just last year, the brewery was awarded four gold medals in the North American Beer Awards — a non-profit organization that holds two competitions every year. The gold medals went to the Deseo Latin Lager, Cocoa Cow Chocolate Milk Stout, Grandma’s Blonde Ale and Cameron’s Crest Scottish Ale. Sunriver Brewing also won two silver medals and three bronze medals.
The beer is objectively great, according to regional, national and international beer judges. The critics come from organizations like the Great American Beer Festival, which enlists professionals from the beer industry to judge over 4,000 beers. Every year since 2014, Sunriver Brewing has won at least one medal from national/international competitions.
In 2017, Sunriver Brewing was named “Small Brewing Company of the Year,” and their brew master was named “Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year” by the Great American Beer Festival. Some of the brewery’s beers are especially beloved, like the Fuzztail Hefeweizen, which has won multiple gold medals at numerous competitions over the past two years.
The food that Sunriver Brewing raves about is an artisanal blend of burgers, gourmet sandwiches, pastas and many other American takes on options like chicken tikka masala.
“They are just really talented and really good at this full-service restaurant experience,” Duley said of the chefs at Sunriver Brewing.
Not only is the staff talented, but it puts emphasis on helping the community. Along with their charitable friends at the Ocean Blue Project who specialize in ocean and river cleanups, Sunriver Brewing hopes to organize a cleanup of the Willamette River to help connect with, and beautify, the Eugene/Springfield community.
Still, Sunriver Brewing values gathering people around a table and sees its restaurant as a way to build community.
“We really do believe this sit-down pub environment — sharing food, sharing beers — is a good way for people to get together,” Duley said. One way they hope to create this environment is by putting in common tables where people can sit with others they’ve maybe never met, as well as expanding the patio that is already outside of Hot Mama’s to make it dog friendly.
This well-balanced beer and food experience will be open sometime mid-March with a grand opening party on April 6. According to Duley, it’ll be quite the event.