Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Monkless Belgian Ales: Defying Downturns and Expanding Beyond Boundaries


Monkless Belgian Ales Expands Reach and Production

Monkless Belgian Ales, situated in the heart of Bend, is experiencing a fruitful expansion contrary to the current downturn in craft beer sales. With ambitions to extend its distribution all the way to Kansas, this brewery is set to soar to new heights.

Initially starting from modest beginnings with 10-gallon home batches, Monkless Belgian Ales is now transitioning to a significantly larger production facility. The brewery is making its new home in the former Avid Cider production space on Ninth Street and Wilson Avenue, which offers an expansive 8,500 square feet of brewing potential – double the size of their current setup on High Desert Lane.

Robin Clement, who co-owns Monkless Belgian Ales with her husband, Todd Clement, shares that this move, set for completion by April 1, aligns with the brewery’s vision to specialize in Belgian-style beers. This unique focus is relatively scarce both within Oregon and across the nation. “The unique flavor profiles and tradition of Belgian brewing, paired with their less hop-centric approach compared to many Pacific Northwest beers, truly sets our produce apart and strengthens our market position,” Robin Clement elucidates.

Avid Cider’s relocation to Silver Moon’s SW Badger Avenue space, following its acquisition by Blake’s Hard Cider of Michigan, paved the way for Monkless’ expansion. Such strategic moves occur in a craft beer industry facing challenges like intense competition, evolving consumer health trends, and a general maturation phase that has seen sales decline and brewers consolidate.

Despite these challenges, Monkless Belgian Ales has managed to carve a niche for itself since its inception in 2017. The brewery quickly garnered attention, first by being included in the Bend Ale Trail and later by earning recognition at the Oregon Beer Awards in Portland. Under Todd Clement’s guidance, who transitioned from an organic chemist to a master brewer, Monkless has developed a unique catalog of Belgian-style beers, propelling the brewery to success.

In late 2019, the brewery expanded its footprint by opening a pub on the former Country Kitchen site overlooking the Deschutes River. This venture, though hit by the pandemic, represents the brewery’s resilient ambition to grow. With plans to add a tasting room to their new production facility by late summer, Monkless is fully paving its way forward.

Monkless has already established a strong distribution network in Washington and Oregon, much to the delight of local beer aficionados. According to Lauren Johnson, CEO of Rudy’s Markets, Monkless Belgian Ales has become a staple for customers seeking quality beer. The move to a larger production facility is anticipated to not only improve efficiency but also increase brewing capacity. Transitioning from a 10-barrel system to a 15-barrel system, Monkless is poised for larger-scale production.

Looking ahead, Monkless Belgian Ales plans to further extend its reach. With new distribution partnerships in the works, the brewery’s unique Belgian-style beers are set to make their way onto shelves in Colorado and Kansas by the second quarter of the year. This expansion underscores a significant milestone for Monkless, as it strives to meet brewing facility needs and cater to a larger audience.

As Monkless Belgian Ales continues to grow and evolve, its journey from a small home operation to a burgeoning brewery reflects both the passion of its founders and the embrace of its distinct Belgian-style beer within and beyond Oregon’s borders.

Jordan Clark
Jordan Clarkhttps://www.businessorbital.com/
Jordan Clark brings a dynamic and investigative approach to business reporting. Holding a degree in Business Administration and a certification in Data Analysis, Jordan has an eye for detail and a knack for uncovering the stories behind the numbers. His career began in the bustling world of Silicon Valley startups, giving him firsthand experience in tech entrepreneurship and venture capital. Jordan's reports often focus on technology's impact on business, startup culture, and emerging

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