Ties to early homestead family, local grower

by: TOM BROWN - Aaron Luelling, of Las Vegas, speaks to the crowd at Jefferson County's first PubTalk at Maragas Winery on July 24. Luelling intends to move his business, Luelling Orchard Brewing Co., to Madras.A Las Vegas man with ties to a Jefferson County pioneer family announced plans to move his brewery operation to Madras at a PubTalk July 24, at the Maragas Winery, near Culver.

More than 80 people attended the event, sponsored by Economic Development for Central Oregon, where Aaron Luelling, the co-owner of Luelling Orchard Brewing Co., of Las Vegas, revealed that he is working to obtain funding to relocate his operation to Madras.

by: TOM BROWN - Aaron Luelling, at podium, prepares to address visitors at the first PubTalk in Jefferson County, held July 24, at Maragas Winery. The event was sponsored by Economic Development for Central Oregon.Luelling, who has been brewing his award-winning beers out of his garage for the past two years, has yet to sell his product, but hopes that will change in the coming year, when he sets up shop locally.

"Once we're financed, we're going to move on up," he said. "It's kind of like a home brewer going pro."

By moving the operation to Madras, Luelling will be able to use malting barley grown by his recently discovered distant cousin, Seth Klann, as well as water from Opal Springs for his lager beers.

"It's the perfect climate for it," he said, noting that beer is about 90 percent water, with hops, barley and yeast added. "We're hoping to get as much stuff locally as possible."

Klann's great-great-grandfather, Seth Luelling, homesteaded in Jefferson County. Seth Luelling was the grandson of Henderson Luelling, the ancestor shared by Aaron Luelling.

Luelling, who is looking forward to moving to Oregon, where his forefathers lived, brought up 28 samples of his craft to the PubTalk. The brews, which are named after women and adorned with vintage 1950s-style labels, were quickly poured out to attendees at the event.

Besides Luelling's announcement, the event featured a keynote speech by Steve Emery, president and CEO of Earth2O, and was hosted by Doug and Gina Maragas, who produce wine from locally grown grapes at their winery on U.S. Highway 97 south.

Central Oregon Seed and Oregon Embroidery sponsored 30 visitors from Bend, who joined the audience from across the tri-county region, according to Janet Brown, EDCO manager for Jefferson County.

"EDCO PubTalks are all about giving early stage and next stage companies the chance to present to an audience of potential investors, bankers, marketing experts, legal professionals, CPAs, business advisors and others," said Brown, whose mission is to help ensure the success of the existing traded-sector businesses and attract new companies to the county.

"For me, organizing our first Jefferson County PubTalk around vines, wines, beers and water was a blast," she said. "We are the only county in Central Oregon that does not have a commercial brewery and it's never made sense to me, as we have the purest water and grow the grains here."

Brown has been assisting Luelling with his business plans. "Aaron knows his craft well and is excited to move his business, wife and kids to Madras close to his family's farm," she said. "We've also talked about possibly designing labels that compliment war birds from the Erickson aircraft collection."

For his part, Luelling is eager for the move. "Once we're funded, we can get a place and equipment and move," he said, noting that he hopes to locate the brewery at the Madras Industrial Site or on Madras Municipal Airport property.

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