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Growing Beer With Rogue’s Very Own Beer Farmer

Meet Cher Gillson in this third installment of our ‘Get to Know a Rogue’ series.


It was Christmas Eve and four-year-old Evren baked cupcakes for his mom’s coworkers Voo and Doo, 200-pound potbellied pigs who scarfed them down in the mud.

Evren’s mom, Cheryl Gillson, is Rogue’s Beer Farmer and her office is the 104-year-old farmhouse on 200 acres near Independence, Ore.

For 11 years, Cher’s career with Rogue has been about learning to do more than she ever thought she could — like farming.

“I grew up in a concrete jungle,” she said. “I didn’t grow up in the dirt.”

Harvesting jalapenos in 2016
Harvesting jalapenos in 2016

That unfamiliarity added to the appeal of the job Cher calls her “one true love.” She has always thrived learning new things and on the stress that comes with growing the Revolution, start to finish.

“If I f*ck it up, we don’t have pumpkin beer,” she laughed.

Cher’s unlikely journey to becoming a Beer Farmer started in 2005 when she had a job interview with late Rogue founder Jack Joyce.

“I walked into the room and he introduced himself and stuck out his hand,” she remembered. “So I shook it and said, ‘Hi, Jack’ and he said ‘be careful where you say that!’”

The lighthearted dad-joke was the start of a special relationship with Jack, whom she considers a father figure. Even when she left Rogue for four years and moved to Turkey, Cher talked to Jack once a week.

From left: Don Younger, Jack Joyce and Cheryl Gillson in 2006
From left: Don Younger, Jack Joyce and Cheryl Gillson in 2006

“He was a teacher at heart,” she said. “We would have a 10-minute meeting and end up talking for two hours about some subject that he knew something about that I didn’t.”

Jack guided Cher in her evolving role at Rogue. After starting as a part-time secretary (“that lasted, like, a week before I was full-time”), Cher took on other jobs in accounting, events, dog-fashion-show modeling, pub-managing and marketing before finally taking on additional operational duties on the farm in 2014.

Cher (second from right) at the dog fashion show in 2006

From planting the seeds of future beer ingredients to marketing the finished product it goes into, Cher is as integral a part of Rogue as it is of her.

“Rogue encourages its employees to learn and to get better,” she said. And, for her, Jack was the main force behind that. Thanks to Jack, she was continuously learning about beer, marketing and the kinds of worldly topics she missed in school.

Cher with Rogue Brewmaster John Maier and his wife, Stacey, at the 2016 Oregon Brewers Festival
Cher with Rogue Brewmaster John Maier and his wife, Stacey, at the 2016 Oregon Brewers Festival

“There’s a lot of those stories if you dig a little deep. A lot of us old Rogues have stories about Rogue helping us out,” she said. “You take care of the people who take care of you.”