After flood, scandals and times of plenty, Patrick Couchman, owner of Siskiyou Brew Pub, is moving on in life after being involved with the downtown business for 20 years.
"I'm not retiring," said Couchman, adding, "I wish!"
Jim Mills of the Caldera Brewing Company purchased the business at 31 Water St. and is renaming it the Caldera Tap House. It will offer 20 taps, five of them rotating, said Erin Akers, longtime bartender at the Siskiyou Brew Pub.
Couchman came on the scene working for Rogue Brewery in late 1989 and soon became partners with the Rogue Brewery in 1992. The floods of '96 and '97 devastated the brewery. Couchman bought the business in 1997 and renamed it the Siskiyou Brew Pub.
"I felt there was a place for a pub and put it back together," Couchman said.
Mills was around throughout the 1990s, too, brewing beer at the Rogue Brewery.
"I'm a little panicked Pat's leaving. He's been taking care of my beer for a long time," said K.B., a patron who has frequented the location since the first week it was the Rogue Brewery.
"I appreciate who's getting the place," K.B. said after a moment of consideration, "I've been drinking Jim's beer for a long time."
In May of 2006, the pub was bought by a group of investors that included former Tidings editor Scot Bolsinger, who renamed it the Jefferson State Pub. During that time Bolsinger had a hand in several Ashland businesses that have since failed amid a cloud of debt and allegations of fraud against Bolsinger and his wife, Lori. Jackson County District Attorney Mark Huddleston is in the process of reviewing that financial case. The Bolsingers have not been charged with any financial crime in connection with any of the businesses.
"The only thing I was during that time was carrying paper. They defaulted on the lease and I came back to make it right," said Couchman, who sold the business to the investors in 2006 and reclaimed it by default in January 2008.
It's been little more than a year since the name changed back to the Siskiyou Brew Pub from Jefferson State, with the business actively on the market for about six months before Wells showed interest and bought it, said Couchman.
"Caldera's a great brewery and they don't have a tasting room," said Akers, adding, "I'm glad it's going to a local person."
The exact plans for the Caldera Tap House are unknown. Mills was unavailable to elaborate on his plans.
"I think there will be new tables and chairs, paint and maybe remove the silo," Akers said.
June 30 marked the last day for Couchman and the Siskiyou Brew Pub. He says he'll still be around to help with the transition and will come around to drink beer. The establishment will be closed through July 15 to allow for renovations.