While its origins may be uncertain, the bright red grain silo leaves no doubt where Rogue is headquartered.
The drive over the Yaquina Bay Bridge offers stunning views of the bay, the bridge, Newport and the Pacific Ocean. It would be easy to get distracted and lose track of exactly which building is your destination, the Rogue Ales & Spirits World Headquarters. If it weren’t marked by a bright red, 45-foot-tall grain silo labeled ROGUE, that is.
Where this silo came from depends on who you ask.
Late Rogue founder Jack Joyce maintained that he saw an ad for a used, worn-out grain silo in a Nevada newspaper and had a Rogue truck make a detour pick-up on a trip to San Francisco.
Current VP of BS (Beer Sales) Jim Cline insists he was the one responsible for bringing the silo to the South Beach — courtesy of a long-haul trucker with an unclaimed silo tying up his big rig. He was willing to part with it for the driver’s wages and permitting fees.
“I told Jack, ‘I just bought a silo,’” Jim said. “Jack basically said, ‘What the fuck are you doing buying a silo?! I’ve got four of them sitting on my lot!’ and I said, ‘I got it for $400.’ And he said, ‘Brilliant!’”
There’s no question that it was Jack who ultimately envisioned the silo as a firetruck-red entrance to the brewery. How soon he decided that is also a point of contention.
Another certainty: The Port of Newport was not happy about Rogue’s color choice.
“I get a call from the Port, who’s our landlord, who says, ‘Hey, Jim, you’ve got to paint the silo,’” Jim remembers. “‘It does not match the color scheme of the port and it sticks out like a sore thumb.’”
Jack maintains that parking his bright pink pickup truck on top of a shipping container in front of the brewery convinced the Port that Rogue was capable of much worse eyesores and they conceded the silo. Jim remembers the pink truck in the air, too, but insists it was a letter-writing campaign by friends, neighbors and supporters in the community that convinced the Port to keep the silo as a South Beach landmark.
Either way, one thing is sure, the permanence of the silo was commemorated in the local paper with an announcement about “Rogue’s Big Red Erection.”
Another colorful episode in the Rogue silo history also involves paint. Surprisingly, though, it was the black lettering that caused a stir.
For a few hours one day in 2014 — while it was getting a fresh coat of paint — Rogue’s brewery was briefly adorned with a building-sized “Rouge.”
To be fair, we did ask our painters to paint it red.
A correctly spelled “Rogue” can now be seen on the silo that stands at the entrance to our brewery. You can win a trip to walk through that silo yourself by looking for Rogue retail displays near you. Or you can also enter online at rogue.com/goroguesilo.