Photo by Susan Dimock

Stretching from Heceta Head in Northern Florence to Cape Arago in Southern Coos Bay, the Oregon sand dunes span 54 miles along the Oregon Coast. In fact, these dunes cover 40,000 acres making it the largest area of any dune system in the West Coast of North America.

What makes these dunes even more impressive is that they are over 100,000 years old. Studies show that individual sand grains originated from the Umpqua River making it the primary source of the Oregon Dunes.

Since 1972, the dune system is known as the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (ODNRA) and is managed by the USDA Forest Service thanks to Congress.

U.S. Highway 101 is the major coastal highway that runs through almost the entire Pacific Coast line from Northern Washington to Southern California, making it easy to access the dunes.

Nestled within them are many lakes making the Oregon Dunes a popular destination for outdoor adventure. In fact, the most popular activities to do are hiking, camping, and off-highway-vehicle (OHV) riding.


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.