Founded in Portland, Oregon in 1939, Gerber is an American brand to its core. Every Gerber product is designed and engineered within its walls, and the manufacturing facility now operates 24/7 to deliver American made products worldwide. Gerber has a longstanding history of designing premium, quality tools that are purpose-built for the rugged and demanding lifestyle of the Pacific Northwest. It is from this ingenuity and dedication that Gerber has grown into a company that honors the heritage of craftsmanship, while pushing the boundaries of innovation.
Boneyard Beer is also that kind of company. In 2010, in a former auto shop in Bend Oregon, Boneyard was brought to life with no outside investors or major bank loans. Success was a longshot to say the least, but the hard work and resiliency of its founders paid off. Boneyard has brewed 17 beer varieties to date, and is in the process of a large scale brewery expansion. When Gerber learned that the brewers of Boneyard carry Gerber knives as their everyday tool of choice, a few folks took a trip to Bend to check out the operation first hand. Mark Henion—Boneyard’s Brewmaster 2— showed Gerber the ropes and explained his day to day tasks.
CHRIS: Mark, thanks so much for taking the time to answer some of our questions. First of all, tell us a little about your background. How did you get to where you are today?
MARK HENION: I grew up in California, but I’ve been in Oregon most my life, 24 years, so it feels like home. I moved up here for the relaxed environment, climate, and outdoor activities—I love to snowboard, mountain bike, camp, drink libations. Brewing has always been a passion. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I discovered I could actually make a career of it, and I’ve now been brewing for about 23 years. I worked with [Boneyard founder] Tony Lawrence way back at my first brewery job. Over the years we’ve become good friends, so when this position opened it just seemed natural that we would work together again.
C: So what is it about brewing that you’re passionate about? How would you describe your job?
MH: Busy! I wear a lot of hats here, from keg washing to brewing to managing, and everything in between. I like that it’s a bunch of trades all wrapped up in one—physics, biology, chemistry, mechanics, and a lot of gut instinct.
C: And what kind of tools are you using to get through a day like that?
MH: I can’t do my job without the proper tools, and we use all sorts of tools. Mash paddle, dead blow hammer, flashlight, hand truck, computers, pens. Having the right tools means I don’t have to spend more time trying to find a tool for the job than the time it takes to do the actual job. The SharkBelly is a really solid everyday carry knife. Lightweight. Comfortable grip. Easy to maintain and keep sharp. I probably use my knife the most of any tool in day-to-day operations.
C: Why do you choose Gerber?
MH: I like that Gerber is an Oregon based company, and I’ve found that the tools are reliable and hold up to the abuse I put them through. I like the EAB pocket knife for the sleek design and pocket clip, I hardly know it’s there until I need it. And the SharkBelly comes in very handy. The blade is easy to maneuver, and the flat top serration is perfect for opening sacks of grain, as you saw today.
C: Mark, thanks for being a Gerber customer, and thank you so much for letting us join you for the day and snap some photos.
MH: That was a fun day. … I never knew I would add “hand model” to my resume.
Mark and Chris. Thanks for the small view of your operation. Plus both Companies in believing that American Craftsmanship and know how will always add up to big things.
It took guts Mark to start out with very little and move forward.
I wish I was closer than Upstate NY so I could sample your work. When I am in Oregon I will definitely get some.
great job guys.