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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with www.e-malt.com
08 November, 2018

Brewing news USA, OR: Portland Brewing closes the doors of its Northwest Portland brewpub

Another of Portland’s first-generation brewpubs has gone down, OregonLive.com reported on November 7.

Portland Brewing, one of the pioneering brewpubs that helped create Beervana, Portland's vaunted beer scene, has closed the doors to its Northwest Portland restaurant, a once-popular space built in the style of a European beer hall.

It becomes the latest of Portland’s old-school brewpubs to shut down. A little more than a year ago, quirky Tugboat Brewing in downtown Portland closed after more than two decades. In September, the Lompoc Tavern, a watering hole from a different Northwest 23rd Avenue era, closed after 25 years of pours, though two other sites continue. And just last week, Alameda Brewhouse, which opened in 1996, closed its brewpub on Northeast Fremont Street, and its brewery will close soon as well.

Portland Brewing, which announced the shutdown on its Facebook page and website, cited Portland's “challenging restaurant market” for the brewpub closure. But it said the brewery is seeing stronger beer sales and will continue its production and distribution. Kegs and cases will still be sold at its dock.

The company offered a nod to its customers and employees:

“We thank all our employees for bringing a love of beer and great service to work every day. We have provided staff with severance in recognition of their hard work and contributions. We also extend a big thank you to our customers, for their support over the years. We will miss you all.”

Portland Brewing's founders were among a group of brewers who in 1985 succeeded in getting Oregon law changed to allow brewers to also sell beer and food at the same site where they brewed. That cleared the way for the creation of brewpubs in Oregon.

Portland Brewing Co. then opened in 1986, with its first brewpub in what is now the Pearl District. It eventually moved onto Northwest 31st Avenue farther out in the warehouse district when it built its just-closed space. In the late 1990s, it struggled financially and sold majority stock to investor Robert Malcom “Mac” MacTarnahan, the recognizable name behind the company's flagship beer, MacTarnahan's Amber Ale.

The brewery merged with Saxer Brewing of Lake Oswego in 2000, then MacTarnahan sold the company to Pyramid Brewing of Seattle in 2004. More ownership changes followed, ending with current owner Florida Ice & Farm Co. of Costa Rica.

Others among the original Portland breweries have gone through transformations as well. BridgePort Brewing in Northwest Portland has struggled in recent years and had layoffs last year. And Widmer Brothers Brewery of North Portland in 2007 merged with Seattle's Redhook Ale Brewery and eventually became partially owned by Anheuser-Busch. The Widmer brewpub on North Interstate Avenue recently was transformed from a full-service restaurant to a tasting room with limited food options.

Portland Brewing Co. has closed its restaurant's doors in Northwest Portland but will continue brewing and dock sales.


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