A confluence of ocean tides, river currents and great beer all flow here
“The craft brewing community is a such great group of people and a big part of why I have remained in the industry for so long.” Another draw for Shaw is the satisfaction he gets from “making something that people really enjoy and get excited about. It is really rewarding seeing customers sitting out on the dock enjoying our beer, or going to the grocery store and seeing people reach for our beer.”
This veteran brewer of 25 years has found a pretty magical spot to hone his craft. Buoy Beer is housed in a refurbished 90-year old cannery building that sits perched atop the Riverwalk in Astoria, Oregon. Here, the mighty Columbia River flows into the Pacific and is a strategic entry and exit point for cargo ships, fishing boats, cruise ships, navy and coast guard vessels. Floor-to-ceiling windows and a glass floor allow patrons to enjoy the constant action on the water, including the sea lions that frequent the pilings located beneath the building.
In addition to stunning views, world class beer and fresh-as-it-gets seafood are served up on a daily basis. A mainstay on the menu is the Buoy IPA that uses Indie Hops Meridian. “I really enjoy the bright citrus (lemon and lime) as well as tropical notes that we get from Meridian,” states Shaw. “We have found Meridian to be a very versatile hop that can be used in many different ways and has so many different layers. It is one of the cornerstone hops we use in our IPA along with Crystal, but we have used it with great success in a handful of other styles including lagers, Belgians, wheat, farmhouse and saisons.”
“Working with Indie Hops has been great, and they are good folks. The hops are great quality, and they have been very helpful when we have been in a pinch.”
KEVIN SHAW, DIRECTOR OF BREWERY OPERATIONS @ BUOY BEER COMPANY
“I feel the classic nature of Buoy is what helps differentiate us in the marketplace. From the branding to the style of beers that we brew. I think people know that when they get one of our beers it is going to be well-made, approachable and drinkable.”
In order to keep up with increased demand for their beverages and to expand distribution, Buoy and sister company Pilot House Distilling, started their own distribution company at the end of 2020. Also underway is construction on a new 50 bbl 4-vessel brewhouse complete with a high speed rotary canning line.
“It’s very humbling to look back at how far we’ve come in the past seven years,” says Shaw. “I had faith in the project when I came on board in 2013, but this exceeds my wildest dreams for the company. Being able to increase production to fulfill orders while continuing our consistency and quality is really exciting plus… who doesn’t like shiny new things?”
We have a feeling that Shaw, and the rest of the Buoy team, will put their new toys to good use!