When we first came to Oregon, we were intrigued by all of the interesting, hoppy beers available- beer selection out here was a far cry from what was available in Minneapolis and Southern California, although the Brookings selection back then was pretty thin.

My first brew was a kit, a gift from my wife. Pouring malt extract and a couple hop pellets into boiling water on the stove didn’t really cut it for me. My next brew was all grain and within 3 weeks, I had ordered hop rhizomes so I could grow my own. Even then thinking how much fun it would be having a brewery.

I’d been toying with the idea of opening Chetco Brewing Company for about 3 years, but the timing never seemed right. Finally we registered our company in late 2011.  

During this time my wife’s family suffered a tragedy, then her mother took ill- we got sidetracked into different concerns. We started adding on to the house in preparation for family member(s) to move in. The financial down turn took a little wind out of both of our sails too. I have a massage business, my wife a real estate career, financially things slowed down for both of us.

About two years ago on old friend of ours from down south passed away. Grace. She had been making plans to move to Brookings and to retire here, she loved the photos and stories we sent about the gorgeous trails and beautiful beaches.

Unbenownst to us, she left us some money in her will. When we found out we were shocked- and thought- “this is it, let’s take this money and start Chetco Brewing Co.” Well, that was about three weeks before our four legged family member, Hazel, was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Dr. John Jacobsen at Town & Country, and Dr. Krystal Claybrook of OSU both felt she was a good candidate for chemotherapy, and if we were all up for it, she could enjoy a good quality of life and a few more years. There wasn’t much hesitation on our part, we went for the chemo- we don’t regret it either. We had the best summer ever, the four of us, and we couldn’t have done it any other way, but reality is, it took the brewery money and set the plans back again.

So when Hazel died this fall, we refocused on finishing the licensing process- life is what happens while you are planning something else, right? So there’s no sense in trying to ‘time’ it right. Either do it or don’t.

We are still grateful to Grace for her gift, because it really for the first time allowed us to envision that we could do it. It wouldn’t take too much and we saw that it could happen, so even though most of her money had been spent on other things, in her honor, our brew kettle will always be named “Grace”. This way we can hang out with Grace all the time.

Now? The economy is picking back up, Alex is busy and doing great, selling real estate at Century 21, I have a great contingent of loyal clients for my massage business and I have garnered some great local support for Chetco Brewing Company, so we are full steam ahead.

Brewmaster Michael Frederick (circa 2013)

Chetco Brewing Company

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