Mt. Emily Ale House unceremoniously opened its doors less than a month ago. Opening night had not been announced, yet the tables were packed all night.
Jerry Grant is the owner, operator and master brewer of the new Mt. Emily Ale House located in downtown La Grande. The Observer/BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH
Things have not calmed down since for Jerry Grant, owner, operator and master brewer of the new brewpub located in downtown La Grande.
Grant is being honored as the Northeast Oregon Economic Development District’s 2009 Union County “Entrepreneur of the Year.” The award was developed by NEOEDD to recognize an individual who demonstrates excellent entrepreneurial characteristics.“Jerry Grant is a great example of an entrepreneur who recognized the opportunity and took a calculated risk to create Mt. Emily Ale House, which has already enhanced the charm of downtown
La Grande,” said Lisa Dawson, NEOEDD’s executive director.
When asked if he had experienced any surprises since opening, Grant admitted he was surprised at how smoothly things have gone.
“We’re a bit overwhelmed by the demand, but I have a really great staff led by kitchen manager Bob Kidney, and I was given a lot of very helpful advice by people who have done this. I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel.”
Grant, who started brewing in his home as a hobby in 1992, was originally a fisheries biologist. Looking for a career change, he enrolled in the University of California’s Master Brewer Program in 2007.
Grant had moved to La Grande in 2004 for a research position with U.S. Fish and Wildlife. He said that the high quality of life, affordability and the strong friendships he made, kept him loyal to La Grande.
“The demand for a social meeting spot with a venue for music, cultural activities, meetings and parties was there,” he said. “Someone just needed to do it.”
Mt. Emily Ale House is open for dinner Monday through Saturday.