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R.I.P. Acadian Farms & Brewery has Closed

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R.I.P. Acadian Farms & Brewery in the Oregon/Washington Gorge is the latest brewery to close in the past few months, following Rogue’s Eugene City Brewery/Tracktown and Old Mill Brew Wërks in Bend. Acadian Farms & Brewery was a beloved part of the Gorge beer scene, known for its quaint tasting room on the family farm amid livestock and views. In May of 2014 Acadian Farms overcame troubles that almost forced it to close when Skamania County held a public forum about shutting the brewery down due to zoning issues and above average traffic to its non-commercial property with insufficient parking and roads. (We chronicled that struggle and the outpouring of public support here.) Eventually Acadian Farms came to terms with the city council and regulators to stay open as essentially a growler fill station that was able to serve beers for on-premise consumption, but only in plastic throwaway cups or the purchase of a new glass each time, as the facility did not have a commercial dishwasher. Acadian was also forced to get outdoor port-a-pottys because the beautiful outhouse that was built was not up to code. Back in August of 2014 Acadian considered moving to a commercial space and upgrading their brewhouse but that would mean leaving behind the serene farmhouse setting that made them who they were.

 

Acadian Farms & Brewery logo

After reaching terms with Skamania County and continuing to operate through December of 2014, Acadian Farms & Brewery shut down for the winter and has now made the decision to permanently shut down and sell the nanobrewery and farm. Owners Benton and Nicole Bernard are moving to New Orleans for a fresh start outside of the brewing industry.

“After the decision to let us only operate as a growler fill station came back last fall, we decided that wouldn’t be sustainable for our business….It was a very hard decision to come to.”

It’s a sad ending to one of our more unique breweries in the area; located in Carson, Washington, it was just 30 minutes from Hood River. Acadian Farms’ fresh, nearly 1 barrel system that was built last summer and used for only a few months is now for sale. The mash tun and kettle are 30 gallon Blichmann tanks and a 27 gallon stainless steel hot liquor tank comes with hoses, quick connects, Therminator wort chiller, a pump and 2 propane tanks are all for sale for $3,500. There are also 20 pin lock kegs and a 5-tap kegorator the company needs to part with,. too. You can contact them at acadianorganics@gmail.com.

Co-owner Nicole Bernard adds, “it’s bittersweet and was a hard decision to come to. Also, everyone in the beer community and our little community have been amazing and supportive and we loved doing what we did for the few years that we did it and couldn’t have done it with out them! We made some great memories!”

Update: the entire farm is for sale for $275,000 you could purchase the entire operation and continue their legacy http://www.windermere.com/listing/32428111

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: SamuraiArtist@NewSchoolBeer.com

2 Comments

  1. Philip L. Watness

    February 25, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    I am a friend of the Bernard’s and I’m saddened by their decision to move back to New Orleans, where Bernard’s parents live.
    The business model was perfect for Skamania County but the zoning ordinances negated their effort because it rightfully protects residential zones from retail and commercial development. A change in zoning might have been accomplished to allow the boutique brewery to continue operation, though the process of doing that would’ve taken quite some time.
    I believe even a beloved nano-brewery like Acadian Farms must follow the same zoning that everyone else must, no matter how charming the business was. I believe Portlandiacs need to recognize that zoning laws here are just as important as they are down in the smoke. For those who oppose a larger WalMart in Hood River or oil terminals in Vancouver need to apply the same perspective regarding zoning and other county regulations.
    I take no joy in writing this, but I’m tired of people approving one business model that they like while rejecting another one which they don’t while ignoring the underlying regulations that apply to both.
    And while I’m on a rant, why aren’t environmentalists up in arms over legal marijuana that features an invasive foreign weed which consumes a lot of energy and potentially harmful equipment to grow indoors? I don’t believe one should set aside one’s principles depending on whether one likes one product over another.

  2. Dan Boyes

    September 5, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Philip’s insistence that Acadian needed to be martyred to purify the zoning system is laughable to any student of Carson, Washington’s zoning chaos and he know it. Killing Acadian farms was nothing more or less than Government picking winners and losers. The county had the power to immediately change the zoning to match the current use of the property. Acadian had been working hard and took financial risks like most entrepreneurs do. They payed for permits and inspections for years while they operated “illegally”. Since they weren’t harming anyone, rational inspectors issued permits with clear conciences until a jealous neighbor found code in which to snare them. Had they been a moneyed operation, lawyers probably would have secured the favor of the government but they were just a tiny family business disliked by more connected people. The problem is not imperfect government. The problem is government that somehow in America now has people begging bureaucrats for permission to survive. And being denied. Years of investment building from scratch stolen and scrapped. RIP? Really? How about REMEMBER ACADIAN! One of these days the local paper might irritate the wrong people and government might code it out of existence, too. When a truly pioneering business forged success in an impoverished community, we failed to protect it. Don’t cry for help when they come for you if you don’t stand WITH the next Acadian Farms and AGAINST tyranny. I am a TRUE friend of the Bernards. May they prosper unmolested by government.

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