By Kris McDowell
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Brewing craft beer is an art. Running a successful craft brewery is a balance of inputs and outputs. It’s the result of careful thought and planning, addressing each component of the business in the most efficient way possible. It’s undoubtedly a lot of work but one Oregon company has developed software that streamlines these processes, making it easier for craft breweries to focus on the part that we all love the most — the beer.
Beaverton-based Orchestra Software was started by Brad Windecker in 2008 to provide enterprise resource planning (ERP) software specifically for the craft beer industry. At the time, there were plenty of resources relating to brewing technology but nothing that addressed the business side of the equation — at least to the degree he intended. That intention was to provide true ERP, a comprehensive solution to run a business that would replace the various disparate tools and bootstrap solutions (i.e. QuickBooks, Peachtree, spreadsheets). Other companies were providing piecemeal offerings at a lower cost, but Brad aimed to offer a comprehensive package that was even more affordable as well as less complex — making it more approachable to craft breweries.
Identifying a need in the market is one thing and having the ability and know-how to implement a solution to address that need is another. So what put Brad in a position to go from idea to implementation? Growing up around a family business, Brad had always intended to be an entrepreneur and supported that plan by earning a business degree at San Francisco State University. Deciding not to take over the reins of the family business, it was somewhat of lucky chance that brought him into the craft beer fold. During his last year of college his girlfriend (and now wife) took him on a trip to Portland to attend the Oregon Brewers Festival. He was already enamored with craft beer, which could have landed him in a number of places, but during their visit he also fell in love with the city. From there, a path that combined his business background with a passion was forged.
The software Orchestra has created is similar to the kind that large enterprises utilize, but it has been brought down to an affordable level for small breweries or what Brad calls “democratizing technology.” It integrates purchasing and receiving, sales and shipments, production and packaging, quality control and inventory tracking while offering automated accounting and full reporting along with interfaces to third party systems.
Sound like a lot? It is, but it’s all part of what running the business side of a brewery entails. By addressing and successfully managing those things, businesses that utilize this software will not only run more efficiently, but will also have an advantage over those that are wasting time and resources on those same processes. By reducing the pressure of administrative tasks and allowing the focus to be placed on producing and selling product, Brad feels the industry as a whole is improving.
Starting with their early customers — Lazy Magnolia Brewery in Mississippi was the first, followed by Missouri’s Schlafly Beer and Firestone Walker Brewing Company in California — Brad says that, “word of mouth has been the biggest engine of growth since the beginning.” Brad sees an extension of that craft beer camaraderie in their Community Forum, an online resource where customers can ask for or offer help. It has not been uncommon for breweries that first connected in the Forum to go a step further and actually meet in person.
In addition to the always-available Community Forum, Orchestra offers an annual Orchestrate User Conference, yet another way to help their customers to get the most out of their software. At Orchestrate 2017: Level Up (Nov. 15-17), they are expecting 500 attendees who are there for the education and the networking.
Orchestra has come a long way since their inception and counts many Oregon breweries, including Buoy Beer Company, Cascade Brewing and Full Sail Brewery as customers. Their 40 percent year-over-year growth and 96 percent employee retention rate would make them highly attractive to many buyers, however, Brad isn’t interested in selling. He’s far more interested in continuing to grow and improve, changing craft beer on a global scale by expanding through the beer value chain. It may seem like a tall order, but based on how far they’ve already come it’s simply a matter of time before Orchestra is able to provide more avenues to help craft breweries run as efficiently as possible.
By Anthony St. Clair
For the Oregon Beer Growler
It used to be that you just had to make good beer, but in today’s competitive industry good beer isn’t even a starting point. That’s why, in 2013, Oregon State University’s Professional and Continuing Education program (PACE) began offering their Craft Brewery Startup Workshop as a way to give fledgling brewers a boot camp-style overview of all the essentials of launching a brewery.
“There is so much more to the craft brewery business,” says Emily Henry, PACE program manager. “Our workshop covers all of those topics and ties together the business and production sides of the industry in a compact format.”
This year’s workshop was held in Eugene Feb. 25 through March 1, with the first three days at Lane Community College’s Center for Meeting and Learning, and the last two days at Ninkasi Brewing. Twenty people from Oregon and at least nine other states — including one student based in Central Asia’s Kazakhstan — came to learn from experts who had experience in everything brewing. Topics ranged from licensing and following regulations to ingredient and equipment sourcing as well as building a company culture.
“I attended the workshop to gain a three-dimensional insight into what it takes to operate, run and keep a brewery running successfully,” says Laura Dunn, who along with her fiance co-owns startup G Town Brewery in Greenville, Texas. “I am at the beginning stages of my brewery setup and wanted to gain as much knowledge as possible to know what I'm getting myself into!”
The first portion of the workshop highlighted the business and entrepreneurial aspects of planning and starting a craft brewing enterprise, including brewery case studies, with the goal of preparing students to draft or enhance their business plan. During the second portion, Ninkasi founders and key personnel offered their insights, along with stories of the good, the bad and the ugly of Ninkasi’s 10 years in the business. The course finished up with interactive sessions and a panel discussion. Course instructors were also available to review student business plans.
“You learn about ingredients, talk to real brewers. This is a good crash course for exposure to all those key areas,” says Ninkasi CFO Nigel Francisco, one of this year’s instructors. “It’s hands-on. They see the equipment, talk to the people who brew the beer and source the ingredients. They hear about our pitfalls and successes, and then can apply them to their own business.”
PACE and Ninkasi have collaborated on the workshop for four years. Henry credits the partnership’s success, in part, with Ninkasi’s willingness to pull back the curtain and give an in-depth look at the logistics of running a brewery, with sessions led by their CFO, COO, co-founder and Technical R&D and Quality team.
“Ninkasi has had tremendous growth over the last 10 years while also maintaining their core values and ethics as a business,” says Henry. “They stay true to themselves, both in their business and in their beer, and it is amazing for our upcoming craft brewery owners to see this success and the thoughtful management that is behind it.”
The workshop allows prospective brewers to “hear the challenges and opportunities in the industry as we see it in our position,” says Francisco. He credits co-founder Jamie Floyd’s background in brewing as helping Ninkasi weather startup challenges and growing pains, which may have been harder had there not been someone who was familiar with the ups and downs of the industry. “You have to think about strategy, legality, regulation, work force, how to run a brewery or pub,” says Francisco. “You might make a great beer, but when you take that next step you have to be able to make it all fit together.”
For Francisco, he knew that giving brewers insight into the financials would be a needed perspective. “You can’t grow 100 percent year-over-year for 10 years, so how do you plan for that?” he asks. “What’s a sustainable growth percentage, and what does that mean to you? Do you want to be small, big, boutique, have more locations? Pick what you want and match your strategy to the brewery you want to be.”
After all, sometimes people get into brewing simply because they want to make beer — but there is a world of difference between brewing beer and running a brewery. Many of this year’s students found the workshop eye-opening in regards to the business side of running a production brewery or brewpub.
“I gained the confidence to push forward with my business with more knowledge and expert advice,” says Texas startup co-owner Dunn. “Everything from legal information to how to design my brewhouse. I learned things I didn't even think of, such as having a ‘concept’ and the strategic planning to help organize and prepare my brewery.”
Perhaps even more important is understanding that while there are others in the industry who are willing to help, your operation ultimately is your operation — from compliance and sanitation to payroll and personnel. “Nobody is going to do these things for you,” says Francisco. “The buck stops with you.”
That’s one of the many things Laura Dunn is taking back to Texas. “It was brilliant and I would recommend anyone who is thinking of starting their own brewery business to take this course,” she says. “I came out feeling much more prepared.”
Other OSU PACE Beer and Cider Workshops:
Beer Quality and Analysis Series May 15 through June 19, online, June 19-23, Corvallis
Craft Cidery Startup Workshop June 11-15, Portland
Cider and Perry Production July 17-21, Corvallis
Origins of Beer Flavors and Styles — Check website for next year’s dates.
By Dan Haag
For the Oregon Beer Growler
If, as Ben Franklin is said to have opined, beer is indeed proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy, then Astoria is well on its way to becoming a beer-lover’s paradise.
Case-in-point: Reach Break Brewing, the sixth brewery to set up shop in the North Oregon Coast town. Officially opened in February, Reach Break is rapidly proving one town can never have too much of a good thing.
Owned and operated by brothers and Coos Bay natives Josh and Jared Allison, Reach Break is a labor of love for a pair of avid homebrewers who made a leap of faith after circumstances gave them a nudge.
Josh Allison, with a background as a biologist, has been homebrewing “religiously” for over a decade. An injury made him look at new avenues and brewing professionally seemed a logical fit.
The term “Reach Break” is a reflection of his biology experience as it describes the exact location where two rivers or streams merge — a point where everything comes together.
Josh says it fit the brewery perfectly. “At Reach Break, we are bringing everything together in one location: hoppy, juicy IPAs, farmhouse-inspired saisons, big flavorful stouts and long-term sours,” he says.
Astoria is even located adjacent to a reach break, where the Youngs and Columbia Rivers merge.
Reach Break is also the confluence of the Allisons’ aspirations.
“Opening a brewery has always been a dream for my wife and I,” he says. “Me, because I absolutely love it. And she really wanted her kitchen, garage and shed back.”
Josh dove into learning about the business side of brewing, enrolling in the online Business of Craft Brewing program at Portland State University, which is geared toward people who brew at home and want to take things to the next level.
All the while, he was hoping to find a spot for a coastal brewery and spent time scouting out possible locations that would fit his needs, which included facilities for long-term barrel aging.
Jared, likewise a devoted homebrewer, honed his craft in Eugene with the “Brew of O” homebrew club, soon working his way into a job at Ninkasi Brewing and then several other commercial breweries.
“That really took his game to another level and he developed quite a resume,” Josh says.
The two connected while Josh was preparing to open Reach Break in Astoria and Jared was living in Tillamook. Jared came on board as an owner/operator.
The downtown Astoria location at 13th and Duane Streets originally housed the Lovell’s Used Car Center. The parking lot is where autos were showcased and the repairs took place inside where the brewery and taproom are now located. Later, the location played host to several other businesses, including a bicycle shop and various retail operations. Turning the building into a brewery was no small task.
“We had to do a lot of cleaning and work on the facility to get it ready for beer production,” Josh says.
That included the installation of a large walk-in cooler, running a glycol system for their tanks, upgrading the main water and natural gas lines, and general utility work, such as plumbing and electrical.
Now up and running, the cozy space features a taproom with a bar, couch and table seating. Reach Break has licensed the former parking lot for beer consumption outside when the weather improves this summer. Rather than having a commercial kitchen, Reach Break will rely on food trucks, which will be located just outside the taproom.
“We really wanted to focus on making the best beer possible and to allow somebody else to focus on making the best food possible,” Josh says.
Creating the best beer possible is already well underway. Several stouts were on tap during Stout Month in February, for example.
“We also are going to be producing a lot of hoppy, juicy, hazy IPAs. Jared has been developing some recipes for a while,” Josh says.
Those include Amoeba Session IPA and Evolution Of An IPA Part 1, both of which Josh says ran out much quicker than expected. As the name implies, The Evolution Series will be an ever-changing line of IPAs. “They will always have a similar genetic backbone, but we will tweak something every batch, like hops, malt, yeast, water,” explains Josh.
Mykiss and Citrus Mykiss, two saisons, have also been popular with customers and the brothers are looking forward to doing more variations.
“We also have mixed-culture beer fermenting and aging in oak barrels downstairs in our barrel cellar. We are opting for a longer-term fermentation process, so those beers should begin to make their debut in the future,” he says.
Reach Break has a 7-barrel system that came from Stout Tanks and Kettles in Portland. That includes an oversized mash tun and boil kettle, allowing the team to do some fun things with higher-gravity brews.
“All of our ‘clean beer’ — IPAs, stouts — that are fermented with domesticated brewer's yeast are kept upstairs in one of our four stainless fermenters,” Josh says. “Our mixed-culture beers that we ferment in oak are stored downstairs in our barrel cellar. We have a very unique facility that allows us the opportunity to do a lot of fun varieties that you wouldn't typically see in just one brewery.”
Reach Break is also planning to use unique ingredients that are sourced from smaller-scale farms. For example, Cradle to Grave Farms in South Dakota has been cultivating hops that Josh is eager to use.
“They are also experimenting and developing some new packaging processes and farming techniques that will directly translate to a better finished product. We are very excited to be working with them,” he says.
With the doors open, it’s time for Reach Break to dream big in the form of an expanded barrel program and fermentation capacity. However, perfecting their signature brews remains the No. 1 priority.
“We are blessed with a unique location where we are able to brew a lot of different styles of beer,” Josh says. “We always want to have a variety of styles and to make the best beer that we can possibly create. Ultimately, we will always focus on making great beer that we are proud to serve. That should be the primary goal of any brewery.”
Reach Break Brewing
1343 Duane St., Astoria
It’s back-to-school season, and if you’ve been wanting to learn more about the craft brewing industry it might be the perfect time to enroll in Portland State University’s Business of Craft Brewing program, which began in 2013. Director Mellie Pullman teaches two classes and has a wealth of knowledge as brewmaster and co-owner of Utah’s first brewery and from her experience as associate professor in PSU’s business department. Photo courtesy of Portland State University
By Erica Tiffany-Brown
Of the Oregon Beer Growler
Remember those days growing up when summer wouldn’t even be half over and you’d be bombarded with the dreadful “Back to School” advertisements reminding you that classes were just around the corner?
Now imagine if your lesson plans took place in a virtual brewery. Or cidery. Or distillery.
With Portland State University’s Business of Craft Brewing program, your fun doesn’t have to come to a screeching halt when summer is over.
In fact, you might actually enjoy yourself. How do I know? I took the introductory class earlier this year — and, honestly, I can’t remember ever having this much fun in school (sorry Ms. Miller).
But don’t just take my word for it. Benjamin Morgan completed the program last summer before getting promoted to the marketing department at Firestone Walker Brewing Co. By April, he was approached by Anheuser-Busch for a job offer in Portland as a trade activation manager.
“The program is awesome for anybody looking to learn more about the industry. It's great for those who just need a kick in the ass to get their own project started and/or a better understanding of what it takes to be a part of the industry. The resources, quality of knowledge and experience of the instructors are the best out there, hands down.”
While a career with A-B InBev may not be the first thing that comes to mind when signing up for the Business of Craft Brewing, the program is actually quite diverse.
Since the program began in fall 2013, around 900 people have been enrolled in the various courses. Some people take four or five courses (earning the certificate and beyond) while some only take one or two courses, depending on their needs.
But the program isn’t just for Oregon beer lovers — or even beer lovers at all. Although beer is the No. 1 focus of students, about half as many students focus on cider. Spirits are third, with mead and kombucha rounding out the fourth.
According to program director Mellie Pullman, there was a heavy Northwest student base in the beginning, but now only about one-third of those enrolled are from Oregon and Washington. The other two-thirds of students come from all over the world. Thirty-seven states are represented, as well as Puerto Rico, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, U.K. and Africa (where there are Peace Corps and aid workers preparing for U.S. return).
“It's great to have people sharing ideas of where they think there are business opportunities. Also, people learn what's going on in different states and countries. Often they meet people from their own state and then get together with each other to see if they want to work together or just help each other in their own efforts,” Pullman said.
Pullman, who currently teaches both the basic business class and the business management class, has a wealth of knowledge. She is not only an associate professor of operations management in the PSU School of Business, but also was brewmaster and co-owner of Utah’s first brewery, Wasatch Brewery (along with many other accolades). As the first female brewmaster in modern American history, I’m sure Pullman is undoubtedly pleased that women make up 30-40 percent of the classes, with there even being a full scholarship awarded once a year by Teri Fahrendorf’s Pink Boots Society.
In addition to Pink Boots, there is also a full scholarship awarded each year for one active or veteran military personnel, with more scholarships being added as the program moves forward.
Just like there is no shortage of diversity among students, the instructors and courses themselves offer a nice variety that evolves from year to year.
In order to complete the program and earn the certificate (as well as an investor-ready business plan), a student needs to take four required courses: the basic business class and the business management class and then two electives of their choice (which expand and get upgraded every year).
Bryan Shull of Trap Door Brewing in Vancouver, Wash., is an example of a student who didn’t need to complete the program, but said that taking the first two courses was enough to get his business plan in shape for bank financing. Shull is not a brewer, but was in need of better business information to decide if he even wanted to open a brewery. The program must have done the trick, because Trap Door Brewing will be opening its doors later this fall.
When it comes to starting up a brewery, Shull claims the program has helped him in “every way,” from cost projections, profit and losses, equipment sizing, vendor selection, business plan data to networking. He even plans to take the strategic craft beverage marketing class this winter.
Shull’s words of sage advice? “Stay on task, do not get behind EVER. This is a fast-paced course with volumes of information that build on previous weeks’ work. Getting behind is a recipe for wasted time and money.”
While this is a fully online program that requires a great deal of self-motivation, don’t let that deter you. There are plenty of attention-grabbing field videos that feature interviews with industry professionals working in their element, weekly live sessions with guest speakers from all over the country, and as I may have mentioned, a uniquely awesome virtual brewery experience.
“I still keep in contact with instructors, guest lecturers and fellow students today. The program is such that you get what you put into it, and it's worth every penny to give it your all,” Morgan concluded.
If you’re looking to expand your knowledge about the craft brewing industry, look into the Business of Craft Brewing. I promise you won’t be singing any Alice Cooper songs when “School’s Out” for summer.
By Andi Prewitt
Life happens around the Leikam family’s dining room table. It’s where meals are shared, Halloween pumpkins are carved, and plans are made. When homebrewer Theo Leikam decided to enroll in Portland State University’s Business of Craft Brewing program, he would often watch lectures on his laptop at the dining room table. His wife and now business partner Sonia Marie Leikam sometimes took a seat and listened in. And the couple’s children would be nearby doing their best to steal their parents’ attention away from the online lessons.
Projects, both big and small, often get completed at the dining room table. Proof of a very big endeavor now sits just feet away in the Leikams’ backyard—the structure that will house their new brewery. And in the same way the dining room fulfills more than one need, so too will the family’s business. Leikam Brewing won’t just be a place to get beer. The couple also hopes to facilitate a sense of community among local beer drinkers. Two unique aspects of the brewery illustrate a concern for something beyond the bottom line: the community supported membership model and its kosher certification.
Now the one thing customers can’t do at the brewery is walk in and have a pint, which might not sound very community-oriented at first. There’s not much room for a tasting area to begin with, since the 5-barrel system is located in a detached building behind the Leikams’ Southeast Portland home. However, those who buy memberships to the brewery can find other benefits that might surpass simply having a seat at the bar. The community supported element is modeled after successful agriculture programs. Farmers sell directly to consumers who have provided payments ahead of time to help cover the costs of material and labor.
“We’re asking our subscribers to trust and support us and say we want to support your process and we want to support the good work you’re doing. So we’re going to give you the money in advance as a subscription and then over time you’ll get a variety of different beers,” explained Sonia Marie Leikam.
The model typically provides producers with more security and better prices. Members then get to build a relationship with the brewery that’s often not possible with larger businesses. Leikam is offering six-month or 12-month subscriptions on the brewery’s website at this point. A six-month membership allows a customer 12 growler fills during that period, which can be done by making an appointment at the brewery or going to a farmers market that offers Leikam beer.
“I think it just creates a deeper bond with the people who believe in the product and are willing to not just buy a pint and move on,” said Theo Leikam. “They’re willing to invest in it.”
There are also sign-up perks such as growlers and T-shirts, but after the business gets moving the Leikams would like to host events that allow members to become more familiar with the process of making beer and the business’s ethos. For example, the Leikams chose two hop farms to buy from in Hubbard and Woodburn because they have salmon-safe hops. It’s important to them that customers come out and hear why they made that decision and also see how the beer is made. Anyone who knows Sonia Marie Leikam would understand that encouraging learning would naturally be a part of any business she was involved with. She not only earned a master’s degree in education and spent time teaching in the classroom, but also worked as a Holocaust educator and anti-genocide activist. Of course beer is a vastly different subject, but still one that can command socially-significant discourse. Ultimately, Sonia Marie Leikam wants consumers to be knowledgeable about their purchases instead of mindlessly consuming.
“For us it’s really about the community and really being conscious of where our product is coming from and all of our ingredients,” noted Sonia Marie Leikam. “And to be able to have a place where people feel like they have a real sense of community. I think I mean that’s what I set out my job to be is a community-builder and an organizer and an educator. And if we can use beer as a vehicle for that then that’ll be really exciting.”
The Leikams also plan to reach out to members for suggestions about what styles of beer to make and names for some of their brews. To start off with, customers will be able to fill their growlers with a pale ale, an IPA, a porter, and a stout. The porter recipe actually originated when Theo Leikam brewed it as a celebratory beer to mark the birth of his youngest son. It’s been a practice he’s adhered to for all three of the couple’s boys.
Traditions bring people together and add meaning to our lives. Kosher production is one tradition the Leikams are bringing to their brewery. Theirs is an interfaith household—Sonia Marie Leikam is Jewish; Theo Leikam is not. But getting a kosher certification will ensure the inclusion of more people in the community as well as provide a way to balance family life since the Leikams won’t produce or sell beer on Shabbat, which runs from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday.
“We want to model to our kids that the brewery’s important, but actually family’s really important too and resting and having that time to be with your community because that’s what we’ll do on Saturdays and Friday nights,” said Sonia Marie Leikam.
Fortunately for those who follow Jewish dietary laws and love a good brew, most beer is acceptable to consume. But don’t expect the Leikams to turn out a milk stout or an oyster stout because those are two examples of beers that would violate the rules. However, just because the beer is kosher doesn’t mean the business automatically gets certified. Once the Leikam facility is completed, it will need to be inspected and blessed by a rabbi. Additionally, the two have had to prove to a certifying body that all of their suppliers are kosher. The process does cost the business extra money and it’s not easy. One further complexity is the issue of brewery ownership on Passover. Since Sonia Marie Leikam is Jewish, she can’t possess the business’s grains during the observance. Therefore, at least one week a year Theo Leikam will be the sole owner since his wife will sell him her half of the brewery. Once Passover has ended, Sonia Marie Leikam will buy back her part of the business.
These ancient laws may not resonate with everyone and could prove challenging if the brewery grows and opens a tasting room or pub down the road. But production of the beer itself can remain kosher. And the Leikams’ reason for doing it all this way should still hold meaning for anyone—even those who don’t abide by Jewish laws.
“The act of keeping kosher is about for me being conscious and aware of where your product is coming from and that it was created for a purpose—to sustain you or to feed you or whatever it might be,” explained Sonia Marie Leikam.
Building a kosher brewery is just the latest project this husband-and-wife team has launched in what’s become a very longstanding partnership. How long? The two weren’t even in their teens when they met in middle school in California. They may have started as awkward friends but later became high school sweethearts. And they’ve been together ever since. In fact, it’s been so long that they’re not quite sure whether it’s been 15 years since their first date. But it was around that time when Sonia Marie Leikam broke up with her boyfriend, who was kind of a jerk, and Theo Leikam declared that he could do better than that guy. She was single for all of two hours.
After high school the two came to Portland to attend Lewis and Clark College and later went on to Portland State University for post-baccalaureate work. Sonia Maria Leikam taught before becoming executive director of the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center, a position she left in July in part to devote more time to the brewery. Theo Leikam became a certified public accountant and started homebrewing about eight years ago after a housemate told him he should look into it. That was followed up with a homebrewing book as a birthday present. Theo Leikam was then the recipient of a Mr. Beer kit that had sat untouched in someone else’s garage for 10 years, the fate of most Mr. Beer kits, it would seem. And finally when another friend gave him some more advanced equipment it was as if the universe was telling Theo it was his time to brew. The hobby-turned-profession complements Theo Leikam’s skills. As an accountant, he has to be very precise and methodical, which is also important when brewing. But Theo Leikam found his artistic needs were going unfulfilled until he started making beer.
“It’s kind of a balance of the creative side and the exact-with-the-numbers kind of thing, which you need both for brewing,” Theo Leikam observed.
Launching from homebrewer to a business operator takes more than just good beer, though. Some of that extra effort needed to get off the ground might come from Theo Leikam’s passion for the project, which his wife said has “fueled him in a way that’s not ever been seen before.” And some of it might come from Sonia Marie Leikam’s determination to live life with no regrets and embrace the idea that if they must fail at this—fail spectacularly.
After 15 years together, they’ve also helped each other grow. A more reserved and thoughtful Theo Leikam said he’s taught his wife patience and how to relax a bit more. An animated Sonia Marie Leikam believes she’s encouraged her husband to become more aggressive and nudged him outside of his comfort zone. But when it comes down to it, support is what pushes people to accomplish extraordinary things. Initially, Theo thought his wife would see the brewery as his project and take a hands-off approach. It might have come as a surprise, then, when Sonia Marie Leikam decided she wanted a bigger role in helping him fulfill his dream. The realization came last year when she was halfway across the world in Israel and pregnant while working on a program at the Holocaust museum. Theo Liekam was home with their two young sons. It was another example of his unwavering support for her career and she wanted nothing less for her husband and best friend, whom she’d watch grow from adolescent to adult.
“I feel like I do for him what he’s done for me. I think there came that moment when I was in Israel and I was like, huh. This is really his dream and we’re really going to do this,” said Sonia Marie Leikam. “And we’re a team effort so that we can succeed. Otherwise there’s no other way to do it.”
[a] 1718 SE 32nd Place, Portland
OBG Blog Archives
Welcome to our archive pages! Read stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler from June 2012 to January 2018. For newer stories, please visit our new website at: