A nation is in mourning this week, the Rogue Nation that is.
Fans of Rogue Ales’ American lagers, stouts and ales, first produced in the late ‘80s in Southern Oregon, were saddened this week to learn that one of the company’s co-founders, Jack Joyce, died. The company enjoyed a fandom that has grown steadily during the past 20 years and had spawned its own name on the website, the Rogue Nation.
Jack’s son, Brett Joyce, president of the company, declined to say how Joyce died, but he said all of the craft breweries and affiliates would operate at regular hours while a public memorial service was planned for the 71-year-old who died Tuesday.
The elder Joyce co-founded the company in Ashland in 1988, and one year later opened its first brew pub along the waterfront in Newport. The flagship pub is still there along with the company’s headquarters. His son said last year the brewery was ranked among the top 25 craft brewers in the country, producing 105,000 barrels of beer and employing a few hundred people.
The company, which has brew pubs in Oregon, Washington and California, also has expanded into distilling spirits in recent years, and now has micro distilleries in Portland and Newport.
Locally, Rogue is a household name not just for its myriad beers, which include American Amber, Shakespearean Oatmeal Stout and Smoke Ale, but for its growing operation in Polk County, the Rogue Farms Hopyard in Independence.
Brett Joyce said his father, a former attorney and Nike executive who once owned dozens of acres of farmland in Corvallis, was “really proud of the Independence Hopyard.”
“He liked to call himself a farming lawyer and having the farm in Independence was really a dream come true for him,” Brett Joyce said. “It was quite symbolic of his vision to do roguish things. It was so much fun for him.”
The hopyard is known for its unorthodox offerings. Guests can relax and spend the night after tasting a flight of beer by renting overnight accommodations in its century-old farmhouse. The back 40, shaded by fruit trees, is used for weddings while the close-trimmed grass is home to a litany of lawn games. The site even hosts yoga classes. In the fall, pumpkins are grown along the lawn periphery, and children and dogs run freely while adult beer aficionados sample the brews.
Steve Marks, executive director of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, issued a statement, as well.
“Jack was a daring pioneer in Oregon’s craft brewing and distilling industries,” Marks said. “As Rogue Ales and Spirits co-founder, he took a risk to start a business from the ground up with ingredients harvested from Oregon soil. His dream grew into one of Oregon’s most successful breweries and distilleries. …”
It’s expected that there will be much glass-raising in Joyce’s honor at the Independence Hopyard this week.
Jack Joyce is survived by his son Brett, his daughter Anna Joyce, and his wife, Joan Joyce, the children’s step-mother.
OPB | Feb. 22, 2017