After four decades of helping to jump-start and fine-tune the craft beer industry, David Logsdon, the brewer, pioneer in yeast propagation, and owner of Logsdon Farmhouse Ales in Hood River, Oregon, is ready to pass the baton to the next generation of Pacific Northwest craft brewers.
Calling it a retirement is a stretch, given the many chores associated with life on a working farm, but many of the tanks and barrel stacks that used to populate Logsdon’s farm-brewery have departed for Logsdon Farmhouse Ales’ new brewery space in Washougal, on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.
Logsdon charted an impressive course throughout his career, from starting Wyeast Laboratories in 1985 and providing yeast to iconic Oregon brewers like Widmer Brothers, Portland Brewing, Rogue, and Deschutes to launching beer brands like Full Sail Brewing Company in 1987 and his own Farmhouse Ales label in 2009, where he perfected now-fashionable styles like brettanomyces-laced ales, seasonal fruit beers, and wild fermented saisons, before they became trendy.
“I don’t know how we found Dave,” says Rob Widmer, the cofounder of Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland. “But he held our hands during the early years. Many people helped in those days, but Dave helped us sleep a bit better at night when it came to yeast.” Widmer Brothers’ flagship product, Hefe, an American-style Hefeweizen (wheat beer with yeast), wouldn’t have been the same without Logsdon’s yeast expertise. “[Our] Hefeweizen is all about the yeast,” Widmer says. “It makes Hefe hefe [yeasty].”
Comparing the Oregon craft beer community of the late 1970s, when Logsdon arrived, with the current one is almost like comparing horses with automobiles. “‘Craft beer’ hadn’t been coined yet,” Widmer explains. “Very few people had heard of microbrews; there were very few homebrewers—hard to imagine the time, really.” Significant progress has been made since then, and Logsdon has been at or near the forefront throughout, prolific in helping turn what was essentially a hobby—or, at least a novelty—into the production of world-class beer.
In this digital age, we’re rich with torrents of content, as long as we’re within a wi-fi signal or carrying downloads. Much of this content is property, though, which is an immensely overlooked fact, especially where music is concerned. For the thousands of wineries, breweries, and bars treating their clientele to custom playlists, playing their favorite Spotify station in tasting rooms, taprooms, and other on-premise venues, or providing live music, there are strings attached—and they can be costly ones.
An increasing number of on-premise venues are being approached by performance rights organizations (PROs) like BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC for hosting live music or playing recorded music without legal permission. “This area has always been ripe, but the [music] industry really only started to enforce it in the last few years,” says Sheila Fox Morrison of Davis Wright Tremaine, a law firm based in Portland, Oregon, that employs approximately 500 lawyers in offices throughout the U.S. and China. “Restaurants went through a similar discovery period about 10 years ago.”
Morrison believes the biggest misconception involves streaming. “The copyright act provided for some carve-outs, or safety areas, when it was written, but that was back in the 1970s,” she says. In other words, there’s an exemption for radio broadcasting, but the music you might be playing via iTunes or Spotify needs to be licensed appropriately if played in a public space. “The risk is real,” she says. “It may be difficult to prove infringement, but with fines up to $35,000 per work infringed, and you’re playing many songs during a day—well, you do the math.”
Many streaming services, such as Pandora, offer business accounts that keep users compliant by means of subscription fees. Others, like Spotify or your iTunes library, technically demand special licensing if they’re played in a public space.
Presently, many Willamette Valley wineries are entering the apex of the 2018 crush. That translates roughly to a mind-numbing number of daily cellar tasks, from processing the last of the vintage’s fruit to barreling down young wines for the season.
We lack the space for every detail, but we can offer a useful—and illustrated—snapshot of the process at large. Welcome to a glimpse of a day in the life of a vintner during their busiest stretch of the year.
PICKING (6:32 A.M.)
Most winemakers will tell you that great wines are grown in the vineyard. Picking is backbreaking work that requires a trained eye, speed and stamina. Some crews are instructed to watch out for certain flaws in the field, like rot or dried out clusters.
SORTING & DESTEMMING (8:01 A.M.)
Work a harvest or two and your dreams will be sabotaged by sorting line visuals. This sometimes monotonous task ensures the best and healthiest clusters end up in the cellar.
LAB WORK (9:50 A.M.)
There’s plenty of chemistry in the process of winemaking, and daily analysis of the must (young wines) paint a telling picture of the vintage. The basics often measured include pH, Brix, temperature and titratable acidity.