Modern Times Is Closing Portland’s Belmont Fermentorium

The San Diego-based brand will shutter four locations in all and refocus on the Southwest by reining in distribution.

Portland’s supply of Modern Times beer is about to run dry.

The San Diego-based brewery announced today on social media that it was closing four of its locations, including the Portland pub and production facility. The New School beer website was first to report the news.

“It is a surreal and painful turn of events for us, and we realize that the suddenness of it puts many people we care about in very difficult positions,” the Instagram post stated. “We wish that there were another way to resolve the financial issues we now face, but we have been put in a position—by the pandemic and global declines in the craft beer industry—from which this tremendously difficult path is the only way forward for us.”

Modern Times opened what it dubbed the “Belmont Fermentorium” in January 2018 inside the building that once held the beloved producer of farmhouse ales the Commons. Although it was a brash transplant in a city swimming in world-class beer, Portlanders embraced the newcomer. That’s because Modern Times can produce everything from a solid collection of hazies to something like a dynamic oatmeal coffee stout on nitro that swirls with cocoa and coconut. The lines stretching out the door on weekends attested to its popularity as well.

In late 2019, the whole operation moved into the building behind the original Commons taproom. The new space was larger but maintained the same playful aesthetic—the massive shimmering gold piñata of Macho Man Randy Savage suspended from the ceiling was replaced by a mural of the wrestler, and desert-inspired hues of orange, yellow and brown dominated. Modern Times also gained a rooftop patio and room for a small convenience store for to-go purchases.

The company joins other beer brands that had to retract after ambitious expansions, including Green Flash and Ballast Point, which were also both founded in San Diego. Even Oregon-based Deschutes decided to shutter its Roanoke, Va., tasting room at the end of 2021 after putting plans to break ground on a massive production facility on indefinite hold.

A blog post on the Modern Times website indicates that a new leadership team didn’t realize the full extent of the financial difficulties the company was facing until assuming those roles. Once informed, they were faced with a choice “between immediate action and dire consequences” to ensure that there was a path forward for the brewery.

The other cities losing Modern Times outlets are all in California, and include Los Angeles, Oakland and Santa Barbara. The Anaheim, Encinitas, North Park and original Point Loma tap houses will remain open.

Distribution will also be reined in so that the business can focus on the Southwest, which means Modern Times can and bottle sales will temporarily cease here. Start hoarding now.