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Cider company Eugene plans to open in early July in the shuttered Yachats Brewing building. • YachatsNews.com

Garret Jaros Sean Kelly, right, owner of WildCraft Cider Works of Eugene, and Sheena November, who will run their Yachats operation, display cans of their product in front of the Yachats Brewing + Farmstore they hope to open by July 3.

By GARRET JAROS/YachatsNews

YACHATS – Cider lovers will have something to celebrate this summer as WildCraft Cider Works of Eugene prepares to open a store in the shuttered Yachats Brewing building by the July 4 holiday.

WildCraft owner Sean Kelly describes the opening of the Yachats as a partnership between his company and building owner and former brewery operator Nathan Bernard.

The pair share a passion for permaculture and natural food preservation methods. Bernard will not be involved in the business other than delivering some fruits and vegetables from his farm in the Yachats River Valley.

Chris Lehman, KLCC WildCraft Cider Works prides itself on a range of ciders with no additives, sulphites or sugar and a menu of fermented foods.

“We offer a variety of unique fermentations of fruits that are unusual and not normally seen growing at farmers markets,” Kelly said. “We offer both traditional still cider and a more modern cider that is still dry.”

WildCraft, which opened in 2014 in Eugene’s Whitaker District, does not rely on additives and its ciders are sulfite-free, unpasteurized and contain no sugar. In addition to ciders on tap and to go, the Yachats operation will offer beers and wines for guests, as well as deli items and soups.

Kelly and Bernard met through farming and fishing before Kelly opened WildCraft and Bernard opened Yachats Brewing + Farmstore.

“We both share a passion for permaculture,” Kelly said. “We have been talking about collaboration opportunities for five years. And I am interested in supporting him.”

In the future, Kelly plans to start more local farming projects that are based on natural conservation and ecology – which in part means using non-irrigated, non-sprayed and minimally maintained ingredients.

Chris Lehman, KLCC WildCraft Cider Works opened in 2014 on Lincoln Street in Eugene’s Whitaker neighborhood.

WildCraft Yachats will start with three employees and a manager. It is open all year round from Thursday to Monday from 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM, except on weekends when it opens at 12:00 PM. Kelly plans a soft opening on July 3, followed by a full opening on July 4.

On Wednesday, the Yachats City Council signed Kelly’s application for the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission and welcomed the new business to the city.

“I think it will be a very, very good fit for Yachats,” City Manager Bobbi Price said. “I think it will be great to see life in that building and really contribute to our economic and community vibrancy.”

The city has been working with Lincoln County Building Official John Rodriguez and with Kelly and Bernard to ensure building and fire codes are met, Price said. Doing that meant adding smoke detectors and exit signs, but also building a fire wall between the original front building, which once housed a bank, to separate it from a rear addition built by Bernard and who was never allowed by the province. and did not meet state fire codes.

“Then the property owner can continue to work with the province on the rest of the building and get that in order and reinstate the permits,” Price said. “But that is not part of this immediate action. They are well on their way to getting these things done.”

Rodriguez told the council Wednesday that construction is straightforward and everything is on track to have the business open and safe by July 3.

Councilwoman Mary Ellen O’Shaughnessy welcomed WildCraft, saying it will provide an additional attraction for younger visitors and address concerns from other local businesses who have said the empty building suggested the city was struggling.

“So the business owners, I think, are going to be very happy that something is happening with this building,” O’Shaughnessy said. “I think this is a great step in the right direction.”

Quinton Smith Yachats Brewing + Farmstore along U.S. Highway 101 in downtown Yachats has been closed since last fall after years of operation without building or operating permits.

Difficult history

Yachats Brewing + Farmstore was a popular stop for tourists and some locals, but had a tumultuous history with the city and county.

Bernard’s stepfather, Portland-based advertising executive Dan Wieden, bought the property in 2011. Bernard, a former homebuilder, began renovating the old bank building in 2012, digging into a rock wall behind it and erecting a two-story brewery building. Despite struggling to get building permits from Lincoln County in 2013, he continued to work and opened the brewery on July 4, 2014.

The county’s planning department, Bernard and the city have been grappling with the issue since 2015. Because there were no approved permits, the county building official placed a stop work order, or “red tag,” on the building in 2015. Bernard removed the label, left some areas open for inspections and continued working on the buildings, while also offering food and beer.

Yachats Brewing + Farm ShopYachats Brewing + Farm Shop
Bernard

In 2017, Yachats’ city attorney sent letters to Bernard saying he was at risk of having the property deemed unsafe by the sheriff’s office because he did not have a building permit. But it was never enforced.

It wasn’t until mid-2017, when Lincoln County started sending notices to Wieden, that Bernard had an architect involved. Two years later, as the issue continued to drag on, the lawyer for Wieden’s limited liability company also became involved.

In 2019 and 2020, a deputy state fire marshal inspected the buildings and recommended they be closed to the public. It was not. But that prompted Yachats Rural Fire Protection District Administrator Frankie Petrick to send Bernard and the city a letter stating that firefighters would not enter the buildings if an emergency occurred inside.

Wieden died in September 2022 and Bernard bought the property from the BV in October.

Yachats Brewing’s OLCC permit expired in July 2023. Bernard closed the brewery last fall and fired his brewmaster and staff. County officials said Bernard’s attorney informed them late last year that Bernard was not interested in applying for permits and that the operation would not reopen this spring.

Price told YachatsNews that she contacted Bernard in April when the business didn’t open for spring break and had a long conversation about its future. The timing worked out perfectly for a partnership with Kelly, who told YachatsNews he had originally thought about opening WildCraft at the location last summer.

Price said she’s glad things are finally moving forward.

“From the city’s perspective, it’s very important to have a business operating in that location,” Price said. “We are all on the same page and they have a good plan to bring this to a successful conclusion.”

  • Garret Jaros is YachatsNews’ full-time reporter and can be reached at [email protected]; YachatsNews editor Quinton Smith contributed to this story.

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