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Cheers, mate! A new brewery opens Thursday in South Eugene

Drop Bear
Karen Richards
The Lehanes refurbished the original bar and added repurposed iron roofing to the front.

A restaurant from Down Under opens Thursday in South Eugene. It's called Drop Bear Brewery.

Owners Lorraine and David Lehane came to Oregon from Michigan, but lived most of their lives in Australia. David Lehane told KLCC, “We retired, and this is our crazy idea of a retirement plan.”

They spent several months renovating the old Turtles restaurant at 27th and Willamette, and will welcome customers to Drop Bear Thursday at 4pm. “We will be opening under construction," said Lorraine Lehane. "We still have a long way to go. The kitchen needs a total rehab so we’ll be having a vegan food cart which is wonderful. She grows everything on her own farm. So it’s farm to table.”

Lehane says “drop bear” is an inside joke for Australians, who warn outsiders about vicious koalas that drop from trees and slash with sharp claws. "But they don't attack you," said David Lehane, "the best they do is pee on you."

They plan to brew beer in-house by the end of the year. For now, their recipes are being made elsewhere and brought in. The menu will be strongly, but not completely, vegan, and internationally inspired.

Karen Richards has been a KLCC reporter since the fall of 2012.