Craft brewing companies like Ninkasi have put Eugene on the map as the place to experience and purchase quality beer as well as support local causes. Now Elk Horn Brewery and Mancäve Brewing hope to make names for themselves by using innovative ideas and supporting the community.
Nearly a decade ago, when Brandon Woodruff was on his way home from the Navy after tearing his ACL, he called his then-girlfriend and said, “Hey, I have to come home now, and I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
Soon after arriving home, Woodruff started bartending and eventually obtained his first homebrew kit from Valley Vinter and Brewer. For nine years he has been saving up his tips made as a bartender and giving away his beer for free at places like the Kaleidoscope Music Festival, just to get his name out there.
Now, Woodruff, his business partner Wes Gunderson and investor Jesse Inisan have a self-funded warehouse property in the Whiteaker neighborhood.
“If you want something, you just gotta go for it, man,” Woodruff says.
Mancäve Brewing isn’t your typical place to get a pint. There is a “Höhle Verein Society” (German for “cave society”) that customers must join if they want to gain access into the brewery. But that won’t happen until they buy some of the merchandise with Woodruff’s designs on them.
Once in the society, customers can expect invitations to special events including tours. Not only that, but 100 percent of all profits made from merchandise goes toward rotating charities, the first of which will be Greenhill Humane Society and EC Cares, which provides early intervention and early childhood education to kids with developmental delays or disabilities.
Mancäve Brewing is located at the edge of the Whit in a blue-collar environment, where Woodruff says that he wants workers to feel like they can come to get a drink rather than go all the way into town.
“I just want people to enjoy the beer,” Woodruff says.
For those who neither want to go to town or head to the cave to enjoy the frothy beverage, another cool option from Mancäve Brewing is delivery. Expect Mancäve to start selling beer mid-June and open the sit-down area of the brewery sometime in July. They are located on 540 Fillmore St.
Elk Horn Brewery
When Stephen and Colleen Sheehan opened up the Delacata food cart a few years ago, they had reservations. They weren’t sure how the people of Eugene would take to Southern fried food.
“The Southern food cart just took off. We can’t believe the response we’ve had from this community,” Stephen Sheehan says.
Now the Sheehans own 90 percent of Elk Horn Brewery, which is slated to open Aug. 1. Boasting “the sickest deck in town,” a handful of TVs and several elk mounts, Elk Horn Brewing is sure to have a feel all its own.
“This is a dream we’ve been working hard on and it’s actually going to happen,” Colleen Sheehan says.
Stephen Sheehan says his granddad was one of the owners of Tennessee Brewing. “I feel like the brewing business is in our blood,” he says.
Southern-style brewing and cooking make for a delicious combination, and Elk Horn Brewing definitely will not disappoint with their food. Customers of Delacata will be happy to hear that the couple plans on expanding their menu to include desserts and other such goodies.
On the “badass” deck, the Sheehans say bands will play live, and opening night they have a band that “people know.” They just won’t say who it is.
There are several investors in Elk Horn Brewery, but Stephen Sheehan says that they all contribute something other than money. Sweet Cheeks Winery donated 5 acres of land specifically to grow hops for Elk Horn. Other businesses have donated building supplies and other equipment.
“We feel like a part of businesses from all over town are on the walls of Elk Horn,” Stephen Sheehan says.
Delacata is known for sponsoring children in need to gain a whole new wardrobe and school supplies. Now, with Elk Horn Brewing, they will have a “beer ’cause we care” tap where every dollar spent will go to an organization of their choosing. Not only that, but Colleen Sheehan says come the holidays, Elk Horn will sponsor a child to get a present from Santa Claus.
“This is the best thing I’ve ever done in my life because of people’s reactions,” Stephen Sheehan says.
Elk Horn Brewery is slated to open Aug. 1.