For the past 10 years or so, the watchword for Central Oregon beer has been "expansion." It's a trend that continues apace, although it's perhaps not so noticeable at the moment because not as many new breweries are opening. But our existing breweries are expanding like there's no tomorrow.
So it goes, as well, for DrinkTanks, the company behind the sturdy, beer-friendly stainless steel growlers seen at area beer joints like Deschutes and Silver Moon. "When we started manufacturing, we were in a warehouse off of Century Drive (near GoodLife Brewing)", said DrinkTanks founder Nick Hill. "After a while, it got, to say the least, pretty cramped in there. We're now in a much larger facility, so we've got some breathing space to work with, which is good, because finding decent space in Bend isn't easy."
From its origins as a Kickstarter campaign in 2013, DrinkTanks was built with one goal in mind: build a superior beer growler. Available in 64oz and 128oz sizes, the growlers feature the same grade of stainless steel used to make commercial breweries' fermentation tanks. The double-wall insulation and vacuum seal on the top keep cold drinks cold for 24 hours, and a keg cap set (sold separately) will help keep carbonated beer draft-fresh for up to a week. It's not cheap compared to a regular ol' glass growler, but the quality is incomparable. Plus, it's guaranteed not to shatter if dropped.
Extra bonus: Every DrinkTank made is assembled here in Bend. "When we started this, we made a point to keep as much of the building process local," Hill said. "We procure parts, some custom-made, from assorted suppliers in the US, Europe and Asia, but all of the assembly takes place here, including the powder coating on the tanks and the engraving, which is done on our machines."
It's this engraving, perhaps, that gives DrinkTanks their premium feel. Customers can buy non-branded growlers from drinktanks.com or REI stores nationwide, but the majority of Hill's tanks are engraved with brewery logos, from Maui Brewing in Hawaii to the Florida Keys Brewing Co. on the other end of the U.S. Hill was far too modest (or cognizant of his clientele's varying tastes) to name his favorite beer, but "at the very least, we'll make it easy for you to store and carry your favorite around with you."