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Two Towns, One Brewery: What Roanoke Can Learn From Bend, Oregon

The opening of the Bend, Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery in Roanoke, Virginia is bringing a new realm of possibilities for future development in the former railroad town, as it looks to go from "trains to brains."
November 17, 2016, 6am PST | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Andy Melton

Reporting for WSLS in Roanoke, anchor John Carlin travels to Bend, Oregon, the home of Deschutes Brewery, to see what makes the town tick and to see how Roanoke can learn from the small city on the other side of the country. The 30-year transformation of Bend, Oregon from an economy based on the timber industry to a home for small tech companies, micro-breweries, and outdoor recreation is providing a template for Roanoke, a former railroad town, which also boasts nearby outdoor attractions and a growing micro-brewery culture. The question now becomes: Can Roanoke capitalize on its resources?

Could Roanoke do what Bend did? Deschutes CEO Gary Fish seems to think so.

“In my experience there’s two directions they go. Outdoor recreation and tech.”


“You want to attract a clean business. The clean industry. We just came out of a phase where it was kind of the dirty industry, the heavy-industrial phase of our development. So we want to go we want to swing away from that. And we’re going to attract all the tech companies the clean industry that doesn’t leave a mark, but generates a lot of economic activity,” he said, then added, “Well, there’s only every other community in the country it’s trying to do exactly that same thing.”

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Published on Thursday, November 10, 2016 in WSLS
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