Serving the locals and welcoming the tourists

To add onto the great amount of sustainability being practiced by 7 Devils, the beer company has contributed a great amount to the local community. Hiring local musicians to play live music was an idea that started when they saw that there was a niche that needed to be filled. They wanted more music and culture in the community.

“The way I think about it is that locals keep us going and then the tourism dollars are the cream on top,” said Pollard. “Our business doubles in the summer and a lot of that is tourist coming in. We wouldn’t have profit if it weren’t for the tourist but we wouldn’t have our doors open year round if it weren’t for the locals.”

As more people are visiting Coos Bay and 7 Devils, more people are needed to work. Pollard and Matthews are responsible for 40 employees during the summer, which puts a lot of pressure to be successful.

Group at 7 Devils being served food

Even the beer itself is contributing to the local economy. Most of the hops used are from local farms, to reduce their carbon footprint. By the end of the year they are switching over to a local grower from the Willamette Valley, Crosby Hop Farms, too increase the percentage of local hops used. They will also be adding several varieties of Certified Salmon Safe hops.

“The whole process is just to not put extra nutrients and runoff into creeks that are going to damage the spawning and rearing grounds of salmon.” said Pollard. “So you are organically farming but you are also making efforts making sure your runoff isn’t causing silt or eutrophication in the streams.”

One of the beers, the Chinook Redd, referencing a salmon’s nest, is going to only have 100% salmon safe hops, and hopefully as many of the other beers will too. One of their seasonal beers, the Hydrant Wheat, contributes to the local firehouse. 20% of the gross sales from that beer is donated. The total amount of generosity, among with some other donations can account up to $25,000 a year that is donated to non-profits, according to Pollard.

7 Devils Brewing self distributes their beer, as far north to Florence, east to Elkton and south to Gold Beach to over 50 accounts. They are in the process of applying to a grant in order to put more solar panels on the roof to power the refrigeration of the beer.

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Keeping the business sustainable

7 Devils Pub House has branded itself to embody the atmosphere in which it resides in. It’s coastal inspiration, agritourism and sustainable practices are due to the owners’ and landlord’s responsibility to be sustainable. The building has solar panels on the roof, energy efficient appliances and even a rain garden. However, these aren’t the only sustainable practices going on.

“Brewing unfortunately is a pretty resource heavy endeavor,” said Pollard.  “It uses a lot of water and power and so we think that we have a responsibility to ameliorate the effects as much as possible.”

7 Devils Ales on tap

To make one pint of beer, roughly 20 gallons of water are needed, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal. Pollard lists a number of practices that they are executing in order to make up for this impact.

“Our spent malt [leftover grain material] goes to a local farmer,” said Pollard. “All of our food waste from the restaurant goes to a farm as well; our yeast goes. In terms of our energy, we have all the energy upgrades you can have, so the most energy efficient appliances, like low flow flush toilets. We also deliver our beer on bicycle to as many places as we can.”

The human powered beer delivery system is a unique but a very sustainable practice. Along with minimizing power use, the restaurant gets locally sourced food. The combination of sustainable and eco-friendly practices, allow 7 Devils to be an official Ocean Friendly Restaurant through the Surf Rider Foundation.

“To be an ocean friendly restaurant, you have to check off all these things off the list,” said Pollard. “One is that you are not sending things home in Styrofoam, you’re not using plastic straws, you’re not using single use plastic bags. You are trying to source locally as much as possible. I think you have to do seven out of the ten requirements and I think we are at nine.”

According to Pollard, there are only two ocean friendly restaurants in Coos Bay right now. One being 7 Devils and the other, their neighbor, Nosters Kitchen. There are nine of these ocean restaurants in Oregon, with the other seven being located in Portland.

The backstory of 7 Devils Brewing Co.

“One of these days I’ll start a brewery,” said Co-owner and CEO of 7 Devil’s Brewing Company, Annie Pollard. “Then a decade went by and no one did.”

Entrepreneur or biologist? Actually, Pollard is both. She moved to Coos Bay, Ore. in 2003 to do research at the Charleston Oregon Institute of Marine Biology. Her science education allowed her to spend her winters in Antarctica and summers in the States. However, this lifestyle wasn’t suitable for family life and after a decade of living in Coos Bay with her husband, Carmen Matthews she decided to think about a career change. At the time the couple was brewing small batches in their garage. Pollard’s science background definitely contributed to their beer’s success but her and her husband have always loved brewing and drinking beer.

Owners of 7 Devils Brewing Co. Left: Annie Pollard Right: Carmen Matthews

“Carmen is very well-rooted in this community,” said Pollard. “Everybody knew Carmen.”

In fact, according to Pollard, Matthew was the Regional Manager of Dutch Bros in which she identifies as one of the main contributors to their success as a brewing company. His connection with the community allowed a lot of opportunity and support to follow his dreams.

“When we finally made the call that this is what we were going to do,” said Pollard. “We started brewing on a larger scale in our garage. Instead of doing just homebrews, we actually bought a pretty significant home brew system. We were brewing 30 gallons at a time.”

Using all grain, the couple started their recipe development. This left a byproduct of a significant amount of beer that they couldn’t drink or sell, so instead they invited everyone over to fill up their growlers in exchange for critiques. At the same time, they were also looking for funding sources and a location to start their business.

“A friend of ours, David Ford, owned the building,” said Pollard. “He knew we were looking for a spot and he asked us if we’d partner with him.”

The building located on S. 2ndstreet is almost a completely different building than what is was years ago. According to Pollard, the building was just a shell with good walls but terrible floors and when they drilled underneath they could see the tide coming in and out. In fact, the whole down-town area is built on dredge soil, an area that used to be a marsh field and a part of the bay. All of that area needed to be filled in along with a lot of other cosmetic repairs. Then, within three years, in 2013, 7 Devils Public House opened their doors at 247 S. 2ndSt in Coos Bay, Ore.