The past couple of years have been hard on the Portland brewery scene, but one hit that we didn’t see coming was the sale of Ecliptic Brewing—founded by one of Oregon’s most esteemed brewmasters.
Today, the business, helmed by former Deschutes and Full Sail brewer John Harris, announced it had been sold to a company that would keep him involved in the brand, but would not retain its current space as a pub.
“The sale will allow me to pay back our debts and align the brand with a bigger entity to allow it to continue,” a post on social media stated. “Ecliptic beer will still be available in stores and restaurants.”
A WW query to Harris this evening about the identity of the buyers has not received a response.
The online announcement also described the sentiment of many hospitality entrepreneurs over the past few years: “We have encountered so many issues that other small businesses have faced: a pandemic, rising cost of goods, supply chain issues and the overall economic climate. It has gotten to the point where we are no longer able to continue operations, and the company has sold.”
Ecliptic is the latest brewery in Oregon to announce changes—whether that be new ownership or closure.
In July, Hillsboro’s Ambacht Brewing, best known for its matzo beer, announced it was calling it quits. Then, in late August, Laurelwood Brewing closed its only remaining pub on Northeast Sandy Boulevard.
Industry uncertainty reaches from Medford, where 11-year-old Opposition Brewing shared in early August that it would shut down for good, to Grants Pass, where Climate City Brewing shuttered its restaurant in early September—at least temporarily. Out in Boardman, Ordnance Brewing announced in mid-August that it would be permanently closing.
However, none of those breweries was led by a person as renowned as Harris, who came up with the recipe for Deschutes iconic Mirror Pond and the version you know today of Black Butte Porter. Harris, who founded Ecliptic in 2013, won multiple awards with Ecliptic at both the prestigious Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup.
This post will be updated once more information is available. The pub will be open through Nov. 18, so get there to drink, or pour one out, while you can.