After a hard day’s work, a group of friends stop by a local brewery and enjoy an evening full of laughter with a cold beer in hand. At least, that’s the vision R.J. Mills and Arin Forrest have for their craft brewing company, North Forty.
The two Roseburg natives went to Joseph Lane Middle School and became best friends there. Later, as teenagers, the two envisioned becoming entrepreneurs and owning a small business.
When Mills turned 21, he started making his own beer as a way to hang out with friends and as a personal hobby. Now the two brew together, and after 17 years of home-brewing, Mills and Forest turned their dreams of owning a brewery into a reality.
In 2014, the duo decided to move away from Portland and take their business to the heart of downtown Roseburg, on 435 SE Jackson St.
“We grew up in Roseburg,” Mills said. “Roseburg’s identity has set with us for a long time. That individual spirit, hard work and outdoors atmosphere is a core concept of North Forty.”
The microbrewery will eventually have more than 10 different craft beers on tap. They will also sell wine, cider and growlers. Food trucks will be parked outside, so people can order food while enjoying their favorite brew.
North Forty’s signature colors, green and black, along with natural design elements such as wood and metal, will be featured in the new venue to resemble aspects of Oregon.
“We want it to be a place where everybody feels comfortable and somewhere that reflects the area and history of the town,” Forrest said. “We want it to feel like a family. That’s very important to us.”
The owners’ advice to young, new entrepreneurs is to have a good plan, have plenty of experience and be prepared for pitfalls.
“Find where your strengths are and match your strengths to your expectations,” Mills said. “One of the key aspects of being an entrepreneur is having a good idea and a good overall perspective as you progress towards making the business happen.”
To them, it is more than simply a business venture. It is a part of their lives.
“This isn’t just a business for us, it’s also a passion,” Forrest said. “We love doing this as much as everybody loves going there and we wanted to do something that adds to the community.”