Rock Bottom Closes Its Downtown Portland Location After 25 Years

If you’d like to visit a Rock Bottom, the closest one is now nearly 700 miles away in San Jose.

After a quarter-of-a-century in Portland, Rock Bottom Brewing has closed its downtown location.

As of Monday afternoon, a sign posted on the front entrance read: "We are officially closing our doors on Oct. 27, 2019. We have enjoyed being part of your neighborhood and appreciate your business."

Jeff Alworth was first to break the news on his blog, Beervana. Rock Bottom also posted a succinct "goodbye" on its Facebook page, which up until yesterday had been active with shared photos of foaming pints of beer and food specials.

"Thank you Portland for the last 25 years," the statement said. "We are permanently closed."

Founded in Denver in 1991, the business rapidly expanded throughout that decade, opening dozens of locations across the country. At the time, there were a limited number of companies that brewed on-site and also operated full-service restaurants, so the concept was novel.

Rock Bottom's founders wanted to make beer front and center, which is why they installed prominently featured brewing equipment—such as brass vats in the cramped mezzanine brewery at the Portland operation, which launched in 1994.

At the time, the city wasn't brimming with breweries like it is now, but there were established local producers, including BridgePort and Widmer Brothers. Drinkers' ability to embrace an out-of-state chain was likely aided by the fact that kegs were never shipped hundreds of miles. Every Rock Bottom has its own brewer, and the company even highlights their roles by including signs with their names at the front doors and encouraging customers to get to know the brewers on its website.

In Portland, brewers have included Gigantic's Van Havig, and most recently, Todd Britt, who's been with Rock Bottom for seven years, serving as the Portland location's head brewer since 2015. He recently snagged an award in the fresh-hop category of the WW-sponsored Oregon Beer Awards.

Rock Bottom was also a favorite among local brewers, who gathered at the pub's second-floor event room for a pre-funk prior to the Oregon Brewers Association dinner held at Waterfront Park in July.

At this point, Rock Bottom—which in 2010 merged with Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant group to become CraftWorks Restaurant and Brewereies, Inc.—has not issued any statements about what led to the Portland closure. Twenty-five locations remain open across the nation, though Oregon has already been erased from the business's website.

If you'd like to visit a Rock Bottom, the closest one is now nearly 700 miles away in San Jose.

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