Jack Joyce, 71, who in 1988 co-founded Rogue Ales, which now distributes to 50 states and 30 countries, died on May 27.
Joyce was a VP at Nike near Portland,OR. (“I’m famous for running the Air Jordan project,” he once said) when he left to start a brewpub in the Southern Oregon town of Ashland at the headwaters of the Rogue River. The brewery, née Rogue River Brewing, produced 1,000 barrels the first year. Asked what he and his partners, some old fraternity brothers of his, had hoped to achieve with the business, Joyce quipped, “We didn’t think about it. The plan was to not go broke.”
In 2005, Jack’s son, Brett, worked for Adidas—the MillerCoors to Nike’s Anheuser-Busch InBev—but one of Jack’s old fraternity brothers implored him to quit and take over Rogue. “I would not risk the friendship that I have with my son, so my partners called him,” revealed Jack. Once Brett took over as president, Jack’s title became chief wisdom officer.
Jack was a pioneer among the first wave of craft brewers, and the sad news of his passing rocked the industry. Up until the end, Brett said of his father, “He’s still passionate about the business. He can spot trouble a mile away and see around corners.” After his father’s passing, Brett said, “He was the true Rogue and will be missed by us all.” Joyce is survived by a son, daughter, two grandchildren and a large family of employees and members of the Rogue Nation.