Mid Columbia Economic Development District strives to promote the creation of family-wage jobs, the diversification of the economic base, and the growth, development and retention of business and industry in Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Klickitat and Skamania Counties
MCEDD is organized as a government non-profit in Oregon as an ORS-190 and in Washington through RCW 39.34.010.
June 21, 2018 – Carrie and Bruce Nissen, Owners of LDB Beverage Company
Bruce and Carrie Nissen came to Stevenson, WA with big ideas. They had run a cider company in Colfax, CA that was sold to MillerCoors in 2012. After integrating their company into the larger organization, the Nissens felt the need to jump into another adventure. They scouted the Gorge, settling on Stevenson and opened a 31,000 square foot beverage production facility leased from the Port of Skamania. Let’s Dream Big (LDB) Beverage Company was born. LDB focuses on producing hard ciders and other soft alcohol beverages as well as non-alcoholic sodas, waters, kombuchas, etc. for many beverage companies headquartered throughout North America.
Since LDB’s arrival in late 2014, the bottling company has amassed over 60 beverage clients, with distribution throughout the US, Mexican and Canadian markets. It currently operates from 5 am to 10 pm, Monday through Friday with two shifts employing 30 people. The vast majority of the employees reside in Skamania County, WA. LDB was built to help small, medium and
LDB Beverage Company Facility
large companies with big ideas bring their products to market. That is why they are called LDB – Let’s Dream Big. Their facility is used to help small and medium companies who do not have a facility of their own and is also a test location for those larger companies who do not want to run their new products in their own existing facilities. The facility can package into bottles, cans and kegs and can process up to 2,000 cases per day.
“It is great to see a new producer take a product to market, watching them see their Big Dream come to fruition,” notes Carrie Nissen. “We have now found our rhythm with customer flow and are able to focus more on employee development and community engagement. Our new product, Little B’s Sparkling Apple Juice Drinks, is a perfect example of this transition. Named after Braeden and Brek, two children of the LDB family, this non-alcoholic beverage provides us with a much better vehicle to work with the entire Stevenson area community,” adds cofounder Bruce Nissen.
Almost simultaneously with the start-up of the LDB bottling company, the Nissens started Jester & Judge, a brand of hard ciders. Currently Jester & Judge’s ciders are sold in bottles, cans and kegs. Jester & Judge’s line up of ciders include Pineapple Express, Blackberry, Columbia Belle (peach and mint infusion), Sharp Cherry, Passion Fruit and American Apple. Jester & Judge also offers seasonal, limited and small batch ciders, such as Winter’s Courage, Nowhere Special and other new flavors as available. The Nissens are making plans for a tasting room for the thirsty public at their 30 SE Cascade location in Stevenson. Bruce and Carrie express that “the support of Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD), the Port of Skamania, Skamania Economic Development Council (EDC) and the Skamania Chamber of Commerce have been critical to our ability to put together our business and help it to thrive. We are very grateful for their existence and support.” MCEDD and EDC both provided loans to assist the company in getting started and established in the Stevenson facility.
More information about LDB Beverage Company and Jester & Judge hard ciders can be found at www.ldbbeverage.com and facebook pages for both LDB and Jester & Judge. You can contact LDB Beverage at 509-651-0381 and email@example.com.
The MCEDD Loan Program is available to entrepreneurs, start-up businesses and existing businesses doing business in the five county (Sherman, Hood River, Wasco, Klickitat and Skamania) Mid-Columbia Area. This loan program is part of MCEDD’s efforts to strengthen and support the region’s economy.
May 30, 2018 – In 2006, Jacqueline Alexander purchased a pear orchard located at 3993 Highway 35, Hood River. Her business Morale Orchards, LLC grows Asian pears in this upper Hood River Valley orchard. “I was interested in developing a value-added product,” says Alexander. Her initial plan was to produce Asian pear schnapps as way to increase revenues from culled pears that otherwise would be destroyed or sold for minimum price to juice companies because they fruit is imperfect from inclement weather, insect damage or from simply falling to the ground. Jacqueline’s twins Morgan and Alexander suggested she make candy instead. With her research, and thinking that more Americans are looking for ways to snack healthier, Jacqueline transitioned their suggestion into a business model for freeze-dried fruits.
Jacqueline worked with the Food Innovation Center (FIC) in Portland to develop her ideas and concepts. According to Dr. Qingyue Ling, FIC’s senior development engineer, this dried fruit has a 20- year shelf life, is lightweight, easy to ship and has been shown to bake well in cakes and muffins. Additionally, these fruit puffs preserve all of the nutrition of fresh fruit without any additives while creating a shelf-stable, value-added product that is perfect for snacking as well as adding to baked goods, trail mix, granola, or yogurt as an ingredient to boost nutrition. Founded by both Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the FIC is partly a laboratory for testing food preferences, but it also aims to combine food science with economic development.
In 2013, Jacqueline obtained a $92,500 loan from Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD) to help build and install the prototype freeze-drying equipment at FIC. With successful testing and product production, Jacqueline has branded her fruit puffs with the Know Your Fruit brand and is nearing completion of the construction of a processing plant called The Puff Factory. The 29,500-square-foot facility, located at 3030 Lower Mill Drive in Odell will house the main processing floor, including cold storage, conveyer belts, an industrial-scale fruit dryer and other required processing equipment. An elevator will lead to a second level with office space.The company plans to have a workforce of about 30 to start with the anticipated September 2018 opening, with up to 50 once operations gear up.
For more information about Know Your Fruit and the Puff Factory can be found at www.knowyourfruit.com and on the Know Your Fruit facebook page. You can contact Know Your Fruit at 541-400-0818 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Know Your Fruit is a single-origin, freeze-dried fruit snack brand. Know Your Fruit uses only the freshest, locally-grown fruit to make its super delicious, single-origin freeze-dried fruit puffs.
The MCEDD Loan Program is available to entrepreneurs, start-up businesses and existing businesses doing business in the five county (Sherman, Hood River, Wasco, Klickitat and Skamania) Mid-Columbia area. This loan program is part of MCEDD’s efforts to strengthen and support the region’s economy.