Scott Lawrence

Owner, Breakside Brewery

Scott Lawrence got an idea a decade ago on a trip to Alaska with his buddies. His epiphany emerged around a campfire, and it sparked into what became Breakside Brewery in Portland, Oregon. Since opening its doors in 2010, delicious Breakside brews are on tap at three locations and countless bars and restaurants, distributed in 8 states, they were named Brewery of the Year at the 2017 Oregon Beer Awards and named 2017 Best of Craft Beer Awards. Not bad for an idea that spawned from drinking on a camping trip.

Scott left his job in software sales with no experience in the brewing or restaurant industry. And yet he still managed to make a name for himself in a city with more micro-brews than you can shake a barley stalk at. Although not a native Portlander, he truly embodies the Pacific Northwest spirit.

Why We Love Scott Lawrence

Scott’s the dude you call up to grab a beer—and not just because he owns a brewery. He’s a down-to-earth guy who followed his dreams. We can always cheers to that.

“Eating and drinking with friends is one of our unofficial mantras at Breakside.”

“You need to fail in order to learn. It’s been said many times before but from your failures come some of the best ideas and products.”

6 Questions with Scott Lawrence

  1. How did you decide to start a brewery?

    I’d talked about doing something in the food and beverage business for a long time. But I went on a kayaking trip with my friends to Alaska and after a few days in the wilderness, we went to Alaskan Brewing Company, drank ourselves silly, and while in that state I proclaimed I was going to quit my job and open a brewery.

  2. Did you ever think Breakside would last for a decade when you started it?

    Yeah, I tend to think things are going to work out well. We almost went under a bunch of times, so it definitely wasn’t an easy process, but I thought we’d be around ten years. I couldn’t have envisioned how the ten years would have gone. But I definitely wouldn’t have sunk any penny I had into it if I didn’t think it would last!

  3. Being well-known for beer in Portland is no easy task. What sets Breakside apart?

    You know, I think we made the best possible beer we can make. I think that stacks up well against the competition. I think one thing that’s different about us is that pretty much every other brewery has been opened by people who were brewers. I never worked at a brewery and Ben, our head brewer since we’ve opened, had never worked at a brewery. It means we didn’t know a lot, but it also meant we didn’t bring bad habits and potential bad traits with us.

  4. Is the reign of the IPA here to stay? What flavors interest you in brewing?

    Lagers are becoming more and more popular now. Classic German lagers. We have a few of them on tap here, and you’re seeing more of them around town. IPAs are going to be here, just in different forms. People like to taste hops. They don’t have to be bitter, they can be fruity or whatever, but I think people like to try new things. I think it’s important to stay relevant as a brewery now to make a lot of different styles that keep people intrigued and interested.

  5. What’s next in the beer industry and for Breakside?

    I sometimes think I want to build a place from the ground up and make like a Disneyland for adult beer lovers. It’s about having an adult beer playground—and real playgrounds for kids. Not just like a restaurant, but I don’t know—biking trails, hiking trails, a Ferris wheel, an Epcot Center type think. I have no idea, I just think we need some kind of big playground. So maybe that’s something we do. To do something that people go to and say ‘Wow, this is really cool,’ would be an interesting experience.

  6. You’re going on a camping trip and can only bring one Breakside beer. Which is it?

    Pilsner. Or this new beer that’s a golden ale called True Gold. Yeah, I think I’d do that. It’s very easy drinking, it just tastes great and I love that. Maybe I’m bringing that.

Alaska with Breakside Brewery

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