It’s been three weeks since we announced that Roanoke will be the new home of our East Coast brewery. I was lucky enough to be there on March 22nd, so I could let you all know, through social media, about the much anticipated decision. I arrived a day early (incognito, of course), to get a tour of the city (thanks Julia) to eventually show our fans why Roanoke was so RAD, and to find those similarities between Roanoke and Bend that I’ve been hearing about from our Expansion Team. Here’s what I discovered:
The Name’s in the River
Roanoke: Originally called “Big Lick,” for a large outcropping of salt which drew the wildlife to the Roanoke River. The name Roanoke is from an Algonquian word for shell, which in that day and age, was used as money. This was also the name of the river that bisected it (probably where shells had come from). The name was eventually changed from “Big Lick” to Roanoke in 1882 to reflect the river which flows through town.
Bend: Originally “Farewell Bend,” was named for the bends and fordable crossings in the Deschutes River. Before 1824 the area was only known to Native Americans who fished and hunted here. That winter, fur trappers, pioneers and Army surveyers heading west ended passing through the area had to cross the Deschutes River at Farewell Bend. The US Postal service eventually shortened the name to Bend.
Roanoke: Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains that offer ample outdoor activities. Check out Carvins Cove for mountain biking, hiking, water activities and more. When our brewery opens, the water source will be from there as well.
Bend: Located east of the Cascade Mountains and offers these same activities! With all of that snow melt, we probably win for coldest water, but our water also comes from the mountains via the Tumalo Creek watershed, then to our beer…very pure!
The Stars Aligned
Roanoke: Nickname is “Star City.” What started as a Christmas Decoration during the Holiday shopping season in 1949 (that residents hated at first), eventually became synonymous with the region and is one of the most talked about and recognizable icons of Virginia!
Bend: Where you can see a ton of stars. The high desert offers some amazing stargazing and the meteor showers in August, and an occasional Northern Lights display in winter, bring out night photographer enthusiasts from around the world. We also have “stars” that live/d here like Matthew Fox, Phil Knight and Drew Bledsoe.
In addition to everything mentioned above, we both have a killer biking community. You can pretty much ride your bike everywhere in Bend, and I am excited to try out the Greenways that connect several neighborhoods together through non-motorized vehicle paths in Roanoke. Community theater is important – Tower Theater in Bend, Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, and shopping local is habit – farmer’s markets with fresh produce, meats, and goods happen in both locations. Not only that but we both LOVE our local craft breweries, especially at outdoor music venues like Les Schwab Amphitheater and Elmwood Park (the latter is where Street Pub Roanoke will take place).
Although there are many similarities, each city is unique with it’s own culture, climate, and personality and we are excited to call both locations, home!
After being back for a while now, I remember all of the sights and landmarks we visited, but what I remember most can’t be seen. It was what I felt from the people and from the community as a whole. They rallied together to warmly welcome us to their town. They wanted us there with all of their might, passion, and enthusiasm, and that did not go unnoticed.
We chose Roanoke for many reasons but in my opinion, the reason that trumps them all, was the strength of community and that’s what we are about, and what we want to be a part of. I thank you Roanoke, for sharing that passion with me (I’ve never felt like such a celebrity in all of my life), and with our Deschutes Brewery family. I can’t wait to come back and explore more of what you have to offer over a pint (or two), and to not only be a part of your community, but of the craft beer community as well. Cheers!
-By Gina Schauland, Social Media Manager, Deschutes Brewery
Roanoke photos courtesy of Roanoke Regional Partnership
Thank you to everyone from the City of Roanoke, Roanoke Regional Partnership, Michael Galliher of the #Deschutes2Rke Campaign, the State of Virginia, and to the whole community for this amazing experience!