If you’ve driven by Wild Ride Brewing on a warm, sunny afternoon, you see clear evidence of the brewery’s popularity. Lots of customers hanging-out, clustered around the outdoor tables, listening to the ever-present music, and, of course, drinking beer.
But with more customers came a challenge for Wild Ride. The original patio, directly off the tap room, was too small for the increase in customers. So for the past few months, the company has been tripling the size of the patio and adding new features.
“With our patio being a popular spot here in the community, when we got busy, it was feeling like people were just crammed in,” said Brian Mitchell, a Redmond native who is one of six partners in the business. “We wanted to make our patio bigger with more seating options, get some games mixed in, but not lose that ‘vibe’ that people enjoy.”
There was also a legal reason for increasing the patio size.
“Before we expanded the patio you couldn’t walk out to our food trucks, beer-in-hand, now you can,” Mitchell added.
A nice mixture of pavers, concrete and artificial turf will be complemented with more tables, umbrellas and two new fire tables. All work is expected to be complete by the end of June.
“We’re adding about two inches of turf to one area so we can have some games and a nice area to play in,” Mitchell said. “The fire pit tables are new. They’re really nice because, on cold days or in the evenings, you can sit there and get warm while still being outside.”
Having four food trucks on the patio has been important to Wild Ride from opening day. While there has been some turnover, having good variety has been a consistent theme.
“Food Fellas have been with us since the beginning. The Jerk Kings for about three years. And both Shred Town and Red Road Pizza for over a year,” Mitchell said.
Tim Thielen, on vacation from Newberg, liked what he found at Wild Ride on a recent warm afternoon.
“I think the diversity of the beers here is really well-rounded, a nice variety of IPA’s, Golden’s and sour beers,” Thielen said. “Really there’s something for everybody here.”
This is music to Brian Mitchell’s ears.
“We appeal to the craft beer drinker — young, old, male, female, cowboys, hipsters, it’s a wide spectrum of customers,” he said. “We want to be the casual craft beer hangout for everyone.”
The company has been on a wild ride of its own since opening the brewery and tap room opened during the spring of 2014, Mitchell said.
“We joke now that, starting this new business back then was truly a wild ride, a roller coaster ride,” Mitchell said. “That’s where the name came from.”
“Wild Ride” worked not only for the tap room and brewery, it also became a branding and marketing message for the business.
“We ask people about their wild ride and we get answers all over the place,” Mitchell said. “Mt. Bachelor, Smith Rock, my Harley, white water rafting, all sorts of responses about their personal adventures. So the name really works for Central Oregonians.” Wild Ride has experienced a growth curve that would be the envy of any new venture.
In 2017, it produced and sold 4,000 barrels of beer, placing it 36th out of about 200 breweries in Oregon.
To put that quantity into context, 4,000 barrels of beer is approximately 992,000 pints. Understanding, of course, that Wild Ride’s beer is now distributed throughout the Northwest in different size kegs and bottles, that’s still a lot of beer.
But wait — Wild Ride estimates it will produce about 5,500 barrels in 2018 — the equivalent of about 1.36 million pints. And for a company that’s only a little over four years old, and in a very competitive industry, 38 percent growth year-over-year is pretty good.
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