Doughnuts and beer: Indulgences to benefit UO's Kesey Collection

In a perfect Ken Kesey world, we'd all eat nothing but Easy Peasy Lemon Keseys and drink nothing but One Brew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

The reason, of course, is that a portion of every dollar spent at Voodoo Donuts for the specialty pastries or at Rogue Ales & Spirits for the distinctive beers would be used to help maintain the Ken Kesey Collection at the University of Oregon's Knight Library. Rogue is the most recent corporate sponsor to back the university's Ken Kesey Fund.

The university purchased the Kesey collection – a 121-box archive of the author’s manuscripts, artwork, collages, photographs and correspondences dating back to 1960 – in October, after raising about $400,000 through hundreds of individual contributions and another $1 million from the university.

But the UO Libraries continues to raise funds to pay for organizing, preserving and digitizing the materials, which include type- and hand-written manuscripts, artwork, collages, photographs and correspondence dating from 1960 until Kesey's death in 2001.

Portland-based Voodoo Doughnuts joined the cause in late 2012, creating the "Easy Peasy Lemon Kesey" – a tie-died doughnut with a sugar cube on top – and pledging 50 cents to the Kesey fund for each sale. Voodoo, which has a store near Ken Kesey Square at Broadway and Willamette Street in Eugene, had contributed $10,000 by the time the collection was purchased last fall.

Rogue Ales followed suit last month, introducing its "One Brew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and offering to contribute a portion of proceeds from the specialty beer to the Kesey fund. The brewery describes its new ale as "a distinctly Northwest beer," brewed with hops and barley from Rogue's own farms in independence and the Tygh Valley.

The beer is available at all Rogue Public Houses, including the one at 844 Olive St., in Eugene.

Kesey has been praised as one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. He was raised in Springfield and received a bachelor’s degree in journalism at the UO in 1957 before enrolling in the creative writing program at Stanford University and beginning what would be his first novel, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

- by Joe Mosley, UO Office of Strategic Communications