Rogue Ales founder Jack Joyce dies

Jack Joyce, who co-founded Rogue Ales, died Tuesday at the age of 71.

Joyce, a former executive at Nike, and friends opened the Rogue Public House, also known as Rogue River Brewing Co., in 1988 in Ashland, Oregon. The next year they moved the brewery to Newport, hired John Maier as brewmaster, and not long after established the Rogue Nation as a sovereign entity.

Rogue president Brett Joyce, Jack’s son, issued this statement today:

“Yesterday the Rogue Nation and Family lost our co-founder, leader, friend, and father as Jack Joyce passed away at the age of 71.

“Following a career as both a small town attorney and Nike executive, Jack and some friends founded Rogue in 1988 in Ashland, Oregon. From the outset, Jack set Rogue on a path of innovation, creativity, and rebellion. Rogue made hoppy, flavorful beers and was told that no one would drink them. Rogue made a wide range of beers and was told no one wanted variety. Rogue sold 22oz bottles of beer and was told no one would pay a premium for a single serve beer. Rogue opened multiple pubs and breweries and was told that it would be wise to follow a more efficient and logical business plan. Rogue took the road less, or perhaps never, travelled. Rogue was the first U.S. craft brewer to send beer to Japan. Rogue won 1,000 awards for product and packaging excellence. Rogue worried about getting better, not bigger. Rogue began distilling. Rogue began farming. Rogue remained dedicated to its small town roots and made sure to give back to its local communities. Rogue started a Nation. This was all vintage Jack.

“He was the true Rogue and will be missed by us all.”

Pertinent reading:

Q&A, Jack Joyce.
Rogue of the month: Jack Joyce.
Rogue is different.
Rogue and the business of art.

2 Replies to “Rogue Ales founder Jack Joyce dies”

  1. Lost a friend and inspiration in Jack Joyce today. So many stories about Jack. Here are a few:

    – Rogue Ales had a tagline “It’s what’s inside” that they used to express the character of their people, brewery, beers and consumers. They were primarily a regional brewer, but distributed nationally at the time, so when Sam Adams started using the tagline unknowingly violating Rogue’s prior use, Jack and Jim Koch had a chat. Rather than suing each other, Jack proposed a settlement that included Boston Beer making a contribution to a small brewer’s charity. That satisfy everyone. Jack didn’t seek to gain advantage–he was a lawyer, had a strong position and could have. Jack took the higher road for the greater good.

    – Out of the blue over the past 20 years I would receive something in the mail with a quick, handwritten note to let me know he was thinking of me. I cherish those small, random objects as much as I do his remembrance.

    – Every year I would look forward to two meetings at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver: Don Younger and Jack. Both good men who accomplished much together, in Portland and in beer as well as business men. In good form we would meet at the end of some bar (Falling Rock for Don, of course) and talk about life, the beer community, business and often art and philosophy would spill in. Not in a high-minded or academic way, but in the way that experience and unique perspectives bring when clashing in the right settings.

    – When Don Younger’s younger brother passed, Jack had a beer dedicated to him–YSB–and that gave Don great joy and peace.

    That’s the kind of guy Jack was. He was a tough, fair, critical, funny and smart guy, and so generous in person and time. His was the first brewery to dedicate labels to their team and extended family–not the founder as most would have done.

    Now, no more stories except those we’ll share. I’m sad. I’ll miss Jack and looking forward to getting together this fall. I’m so glad to be one of millions he shared time with on his rougeish journey.

    We extend our thoughts and support to his immediate family, extended family of Rogues and all that appreciate the scale of loss we’ve been dealt. Think Jack would appreciate us raising Dead Guy in his honor.

    Best, Mark Silva

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