Brain Storm 2012: Eight innovators changing our world
A NEW BEGINNING FOR OREGON HOPS
(Portland, Oregon, USA) – In late 2008, with the global financial crack-up at its bleakest, two men sat at a Portland bar. Punch line? Beer can make a great economic stimulant.
One of the pair, Jim Solberg, had left his job as a Nike executive a few years before. (He says of his 16-year run helping build the company’s international apparel business: “Sometimes, in business, the higher you go, the less fun it becomes.”) His friend, Roger Worthington, was a successful—and unsatisfied—lawyer. They mused on what their futures might hold, and found an answer in the bottoms of their glasses.
“We thought there could be opportunity in Oregon hops,” says Solberg, now a 51-year-old whose relaxed demeanor belies his past as a Stanford football player. The two grew up among the hops farms of the Willamette Valley. “So I did some research. And what I found was flat-out chaos.”