Oskar Blues Brewery recently purchased a scenic, 145-acre farm near its Brevard brewery, a location that will be part farm, part event space and part haven for mountain bikers.
The farm has been dubbed the Oskar Blues REEB Ranch, a reference to REEB Bicycles, the company’s line of hand-made mountain bikes (“reeb” is beer spelled backwards). The farm, formerly known as Shoal Falls Farm, is located in Henderson County, about 8 miles from its brewery in Brevard, in neighboring Transylvania County. Colorado-based Oskar Blues opened its Brevard brewery two years ago as its East Coast beer-making operation.
Oskar Blues spokeswoman Anne Fitten Glenn said Monday that Oskare Blues founder Dale Katechis closed on the property about two months ago. Plans for the use of the property are still being worked out, she said, but it will likely be home to a bike park, as well as to Bike Farm, a mountain biking concierge service owned by Cashion Smith and Eva Surls. The two offers tours of local biking trails which have been recognized recently as some of the best mountain biking trails in the U.S.
The June issue of Bike magazine profiles Smith and Surls and their Bike Farm company. Here’s an interesting note: “If all goes according to plan, a partner will finance the 200-acre farm and Cashion and Eva will develop pumptracks, jump parks, singletrack, rental cabins, a spa and a gym. Like the guiding service, the farm will have a dual mission – traveling riders can rent the cabins (and hire Cashion and Eva as guides), but locals will be able to use the parks at will.”
The farm may also be home to cattle that are fed spent grain from Oskar Blues’ brewing operation. The company has a similar operation in Colorado, called the Hops and Heifers Farm. Cows and pigs populate the farm, which also has acreage devoted to growing fresh hops, Glenn said.
The purchase of the farm is the latest move for Oskar Blues in Brevard, which has been steadily ramping up its beer production there since it opened two years ago. From Oskar Blues in a January press release:
Oskar Blues Brewery, the first craft brewery in the country to brew and hand-can its beer, in November 2002, continued explosive growth in 2013 by posting a 37 percent increase in depletions and adding 32,000 barrels of production. This follows eight years of consecutive double digit growth (triple digit growth before that) which catapulted Oskar Blues to be named “Craft Brewer of the Year” by Beverage World Magazine in March.
Oskar Blues Brewery packaged 59,000 barrels in 2011 and doubled that production, reaching over 119,000 barrels in 2013. The growth has been fueled by the addition of the second brewery and Tasty Weasel Taproom, both in Brevard, North Carolina. Brewing started in NC in December 2012. The Oskar Blues Brevard Brewery shipped more than 46,000 barrels in its first year of operation as East Coast distribution increased throughout the year.
This is really good news for the local bike community. Hats off to OB for having the vision and the gumption to pull this off!