The Revival

Enter Dave Wills. He felt that too much energy and effort had gone into building the brewery for it to die such an unattended death. Though he had Freshops and other businesses demanding his time, he had helped build this little brewery with his own hands — how could he just let it go? He also couldn’t ignore the nagging voice in the back of his head that said, “There’s some real potential here.”

Wills started by meeting with the bankers who, as it turned out, were much happier to see their loan repaid than to go inton default. They gave him a month to regroup and come up with a plan. Wills knew that such a plan had to have two immediate objectives: find money to get the brewery started again, and find a brewer/partner who could provide the expertise necessary to take over in the brewhouse.

When Bockmore came into the picture — a talented brewer and an enthusiastic partner — Wills was able to raise $43,000 in new capital by selling new shares, adding to the 14 original investors. He also demonstrated his commitment by making $40,000 of his own money available to the brewery. By January 1993, this dynamic duo was ready to begin the arduous task of bringing the Oregon Trail Brewery back to life.

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