Not even a rebrand could draw customers to the pub.
Portland Brewing, one of the state's oldest beer producers, has abruptly closed its restaurant and taproom on Northwest 31st Avenue. The company announced the decision this afternoon on its Facebook page and then later updated the website.
"Portland is a challenging restaurant market," the post stated, "so we made the choice to focus on what we do best; brewing and selling great beer through our sales team, wholesaler partners and retailers."
The move comes almost exactly a year after another industry OG, Widmer Brothers Brewing, scrapped its kitchen. That space temporarily closed for a remodel transitioning the restaurant into a taproom with light snacks.
Open since 1986, Portland Brewing revamped its logo and packaging in April, when they held a launch party showcasing the look on beers that also received new names, like Ink & Roses IPA. Staying relevant in a fiercely competitive market with fickle drinkers has been a challenge for several longtime breweries. BridgePort Brewing also went through a restructuring in 2017, though in a more dramatic fashion with the layoff of 13 brewing staff members and installation of a pilot system. The folding of Portland Brewing's pub seems to indicate similar struggles, though the business—which also makes Pyramid products—is optimistic about the effects of its campaign refresh.
"This is bittersweet news in a year where we successfully relaunched our brand," the post states, "are seeing stronger sales trends, launched our New Way IPA, and earned our fifth medal for MacTarnahan's at the Great American Beer Festival."
The announcement continues to say Portland Brewing provided the restaurant's employees with severance. Direct-to-consumer docks sales of kegs and cases will continue. And while you'll still find Portland Brewing beer on tap and store shelves, the news feels like another blow to the beer community that's seen recent closures like Silverton's Seven Brides Brewing pub, Lompoc's location on Northwest 23rd Avenue and the complete shutdown of Alameda Brewing in Northeast Fremont Street.