Rogue's Director of Beer Sales began working in beer back before craft beer was a thing. Today, we're proud to call him a Rogue for life.
A beer legend's "jersey" has been retired at Rogue World Headquarters in Newport, Ore. Jim Cline's aqua blue Columbia Sportswear fishing shirt was a staple of his daily uniform (except on Tuesdays when he wore his tiki shirt) along with his iconic white mustache and toothy grin. Today it hangs from the rafters of the brewery as a tribute to the 24 years he spent with Rogue. Not to mention the 44 years overall he's spent working in the beer industry.
"I was looking for a fill-in job before going onto graduate school," Jim tells us, explaining why he took a job as a campus rep for Olympia Brewing Co. back in September of 1974. He had just graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.S. in microbiology and at the time, he probably didn't realize that his true calling was in beer sales, not life science.
By 1989, Jim was the V.P. of Sales and Marketing for Coast Distributing (which is now Columbia Distributing), a distributorship based in Portland, Ore. That's when he caught wind of a brew pub opening in Newport, Ore. "So I jumped in my car and drove to Newport," he says. "Walked in while the bar was still under construction and introduced myself and asked Jack [Joyce, Rogue's co-founder] if we could sell Rogue statewide." Jack must have seen something in Jim because he hired him as the sales manager five years later.
Jim has been a fixture in Newport ever since. Even before he started working for Rogue, he was there when Brewmaster John Maier mashed in his first beer on the original brew system at what is now the Bayfront Public House. And he was the one who went on stage to accept a gold medal for one of John's beers at the Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony.
He is the quintessential representation of a Rogue," wrote Rogue President Brett Joyce of Jim in an email announcing his departure. "Over his nearly 24 years at Rogue, Jim has been a constant as both a sales boss and a community leader in Newport.
When asked what he'll miss most, Jim admits it's "the people." He says, "The sense of being a part of this particular team."
All those people that Jim will miss gathered on September 9, 2018 to raise a glass with him. In addition to retiring his shirt to the rafters, we also brewed him a dry-hopped red ale named Cline and bottled it with a label that featured his smiling face. A special Hopoe, the currency of the Rogue Nation accepted at all Rogue Pubs, was created in the denomination of 44 -- a nod to his long and storied 44-year career. He even received a golden beer card -- the only one of its kind -- entitling him to free beer at any Rogue Pub for life. The turn into Rogue World Headquarters has been renamed Jim Cline Boulevard and Newport Mayor Sandra Roumagoux declared September 9th Jim Cline Day.
This was not a goodbye. Jim is going to continue to do some part-time consulting work for Rogue and with the Newport community. But the familiar sight of Jim Cline's 'stache will be little less frequent around the Rogue offices.
Cheers, Jim. Let's have a beer soon. You're buying.