On Tuesday, January 22, Widmer Brothers announced it closed its two-decade-old North Portland brewpub, citing increased competition and financial struggles. "When the pub first opened in 1996, there were only a handful of breweries in the city," the company said in a statement on Facebook. "Today, there are over 115 breweries in the Portland Metro area. With that increased competition, we have struggled to make the pub financially sustainable."
Sunday, January 20 was the final day the pub was open to the public.
The once-popular lunch destination underwent a major renovation last year, when the company shed much of its kitchen staff to create a smaller, tasting-room style atmosphere. The on-site "Innovation Brewery"—which has so far produced 141 different beers and churned out 1,300 barrels last year—will remain in operation.
Read Widmer's full statement here:
Dear Widmer Brothers Friends and Family,
We are sad to announce that the Widmer Brothers pub will close its doors to the public today. This was a very hard decision to make, especially as we reflect on the pub’s past and plan an exciting future for the brewery, where our team will continue to brew your favorite Widmer Brothers beers.
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to evolve the pub concept over the years, our pub has experienced profitability challenges. When the pub first opened in 1996, there were only a handful of breweries in the city. Today, there are over 115 breweries in the Portland Metro area. With that increased competition, we have struggled to make the pub financially sustainable.
While the pub closes today, we want to make sure you know that our dedicated team will continue bringing you your favorite Widmer Brothers beers. In fact, we plan to launch new beers in cans this year courtesy of a canning line installed late last year. We’ll also offer a revamped brewery tour debuting at Zwickelmania in mid-February, where you’ll be able to check out the new canning line, and both our production brewery and small-batch innovation brewery. Our retail store will remain open, as well.
This note wouldn’t be complete without thanking our pub customers for 22+ years of support – we wouldn’t have made it this long without you.
We also want to send our sincere thanks to our pub and banquets team for their passion and commitment to Widmer Brothers over the years. With this closure, two of our full-time staff will be staying with us in new roles, and seven employees will be leaving the company. We are providing departing employees with comprehensive severance packages.
Endings are never easy, but we hope you’ll continue to be a fan and enjoy our beers in the future.