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In 1989, Jack found himself in Newport, Ore., stuck in an unusual snowstorm when he met Mohava Niemi, aka “Mo” (founder of Mo’s Restaurants) who extended her signature hospitality and fed him some of her famous clam chowder. Over a bowl, she told him she’d always dreamed of living above a bar and described the perfect spot for the next Rogue Brewpub: Mo had a large building with three apartments upstairs, a sweater shop, an art gallery, 1,100 sq. ft. of empty storefront and an 800-square-foot garage.
Mo offered to rent Jack the vacant storefront and the garage under two conditions:
Rogue promises to “feed the fisherman,” Mo’s way of saying give back to the community. The vast majority of Newport’s residents are fisherman who work on the waterfront, a huge part of Newport’s economy.
A photo of Mo in a bathtub forever hangs over the bar. It’s still there today and a copy of the photo hangs in every Rogue Meeting Hall.
The Rogue Bayfront Public House soon opened in that storefront and John Maier, who joined Rogue in May of 1989, brewed the first batch of Rogue beer there in the back room. Before long, this would become the world headquarters of Rogue Ales & Spirits when the Ashland location was forced to close due to flooding. The brewpub in the back of the Bayfront Public House would eventually be moved to a larger facility on South Beach, which is now also home to Brewer’s on the Bay, Rogue House of Spirits, Rogue Spirits Distillery and Rogue Rolling Thunder Barrel Works. A small inn, the Bed ‘n’ Beer, is also operated in the three apartments located above the Bayfront Public House.