Brewer Spotlight - Jason of GoodLife Brewing
TapRm: GoodLife is based out of Bend, Oregon which is about as central in the state as you can get. You guys pride yourselves on a life lived outdoors. What is life like in Bend?
Jason Stuwe (JS): The whole premise of GoodLife came off of the Central Oregon lifestyle – it’s an outdoor lifestyle here. On top of it too, there’s a lot of our brewery that was founded and centered around music. There’s a lot of outdoor music and talented people in central Oregon. We look at good music and good outdoor living as the “Good Life.”
TapRm: What is beer culture like in Bend?
JS: Beer has become a very centric piece to the culture in Bend. It’s a lifestyle. A lot of the breweries in the area, they’re not just a brewery with a brewpub attached where adults come and drink. You get a lot of families that come and have meals or they’re going to hang out in your beer garden or they’re going to come play some bocce ball or cornhole. You’re going to have kids running around too. We’re not here to market to young people to drink alcohol but at the same time the whole family experience is there and it’s part of the fabric of the central Oregon lifestyle.
TapRm: GoodLife is certainly an appropriate and on-brand name for a craft brewery. What can you tell us about the origins of the brewery and its name?
JS: The brewery was founded by my good friends Ty and Curt and it originally had a different name. Some other folks came and said that they had that name already. Long story short, the two groups came together and we decided to come up with something else. We started talking and realized we live in central Oregon – obviously a long way from New York – but where we live is an outdoor paradise. There’s so much to do and there’s a lot of music in the area so we came to realize that living in this part of the country, we really feel that we’re living the “Good Life” so let’s make a “Good Life” beer.
TapRm: If you had to pick one or two traits that GoodLife beers are known for, what would they be?
JS: You can always take a can of GoodLife where you want to go. We’re known for drinking on the river. You can’t take glass on the river. Our late friend and co-founder Curt, Ty, and myself all like to play golf, too. You also can’t take glass on the golf course. That’s why we decided to can a lot. We put a good craft beer in a can so everyone who enjoys the outdoors can enjoy GoodLife.
Also, it gets really hot in the summer here. We wanted some of those beers that someone is going to enjoy on a blistering hot day – specifically our beer Your Sweet As! Pacific Ale. That one is one that if it’s 100 degrees, a couple cold Sweet As are going to feel pretty good.
TapRm: Your Sweet As! Pacific Ale - which will be one of your initial offerings on TapRm - won back to back Gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in 2017 and 2018. That's obviously an amazing accomplishment but can you put into context how rare that might be for a brew and what it means to the brewery?
JS: We’ve talked to a lot of people and we honestly do not have any statistical data on any breweries that have won back to back golds in the same category with the same beer. However, we’ve been told by some people that have been around GABF for a long time that they’ve never seen this. It’s a rare feat and one that we’re pretty stoked on and even surprised us. GABF is all completely blind taste tasting too so there’s really no bias.
TapRm: What can you tell New Yorkers about Pacific Northwest craft beer culture that they might not know and that differs from what you know of the same culture in the Northeast?
JS: I’ve had the joy of talking to people in the Northeast and what I find is people are just as passionate about craft beer as in the Northwest. They’re very proud of their beers. There’s a lot of folks that are making a go at the small brewery and putting their heart and soul, sweat and tears into it. I would speak more to the similarities that I’ve seen than the differences.
There’s a lot of pockets in the Northwest. In Bend, we have a lot of local breweries. People are proud of their local area and there’s a lot of loyalty to your local brewery in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a really cool thing and gives you a lot of pride at the same time. It makes it that much more challenging to branch out of your local market to sell beer, as well.
TapRm: Which of your brews will be available on TapRm when you launch and therefore available for purchase in New York State for the first time?
JS: We’re definitely going to have our Sweet As! Pacific Ale, our Descender IPA and our Comatose Imperial IPA available on TapRm. This is the very first time we’ll be New York. In fact, it’s the furthest East we’ve gone by far. We’ve never really gone much further than Idaho.
TapRm: From your POV, what is it about getting exposure in New York that is so important for GoodLife?
JS: It’s really just getting our beers out there. We feel like we’ve got a really good niche beer with Sweet As. Our Descender IPA, which is a solid West Coast IPA, is awesome. It’s a pretty saturated market. We’re always stoked to get it everywhere. We know people are going to like it. The beer has been so successful in the Northwest we just want to see what it does 3,000 miles away.
TapRm: How do you feel or how do you think your brand of beer lends itself to the online craft beer sales model that TapRm is breaking ground on?
JS: This platform that Jason is working on - I’ve got to say hats off. I’m stoked to work with a guy that’s venturing out there and looking into the unknown but also looking at a market that’s very untapped and can do very well. We’ve always looked at GoodLife, not only as our brewery, but as a brand, as well. I just think that translates to the online world and, quite frankly, that’s where our entire world is going. I see that with a little bit of help, it’s going to sell itself pretty well.