brewery closure

How Brannon’s Pub & Brewery Failed in Beaverton

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Beaverton, Oregon’s only brewery, Brannon’s Pub & Breweryclosed its doors forever on July 31, less than a year after opening, a move that took many by surprise. After talking with some of the principals and people in the know there, it may not have been as unexpected as we thought. Call it rumor or call it gossip, but these accounts are from Brannon’s employees.

First off, I had heard rumors in mid June that Brannon’s was for sale; that was not confirmed until the Willamette Week reported the business had closed its doors last week. Inside sources were expecting this news for awhile, as sales had been flat and the pub was overstaffed. Expecting full house crowds, owner Kevin Brannon reportedly sunk all his extra cash into the ambitious brewpub, and it showed. From pizza ovens to rotisseries, over 20 hi-def televisions, meeting rooms and custom fabricated steampunk gears, the brewery may have outspent most startups, yet still the place always felt a little corporate chain-like.

Reports are that Brannon’s other investor pulled the plug on funds after the brewpub came up short, rather than continue sinking funds into a sinking ship, and Brannon himself had no more to spend. Rumor has it the space was shopped to everyone from Hopworks to the Indio Spirits guys who are now teaming with Splash Bar owner Chris Lenahan on a new Southeast PDX spot.

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Staff did not have many nice things to say about Brannon himself, ranging from complaints about his old school thinking and opposition to brewing anything but the most common styles of beer to over-drinking at the pub. I even heard a complaint that Kevin Brannon was taking a large salary and had hired his wife–a non beer drinker–to be a sales rep for the beer. Finally, we have unconfirmed reports that there may be a bankruptcy filing, giving the brewpub and the entire installed brewhouse back to the building owners in exchange for getting off debt free. That means there is a turnkey 10bbl brewpub available if someone has the balls to open in what so far has been an unlucky space at 3800 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton, OR 97005.

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: [email protected]

10 Comments

  1. Notteham

    August 10, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    “over 20 hi-def televisions.” And you say it seemed like a chain…

    A quick question: What does Brannon have to say about all of this? We have a lot of rumor based on accounts from former employees (who may be just slightly disgruntled after losing their jobs), but no input from the man they’re talking about. Any chance we’ll hear from him?

    • Samurai Artist

      August 10, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      He has not responded to any inquiries to comment.

    • Dave Griffin

      January 2, 2016 at 11:54 pm

      Went to Brannon’s with a couple buddies. Food was horrible and the beer warm. I asked for a burger with no cheese and got a burger with cheese in the middle. When I mentioned this to the waitress, she had a panicked look on her face. Brannon’s owner immediately came to our table and had a look like he was ready for a rumble. I asked them to make me another burger and charge me for the burger with cheese in the middle. They did. They charged me for both burgers, even though I ate one. My friends and I still joke about the horrible experience at Brannon’s and are not surprised they closed down. We definitely would never have eaten there again.

      • TJ

        August 13, 2016 at 12:36 am

        You got two burgers. So of course you paid for two. Doesn’t matter if you only ate one. Take the cheese off. If you’re that lazy you should be charged for both.

        • Dave Griffin

          August 15, 2016 at 10:13 pm

          The cheese was in the middle of the hamburger just like a jelly donut. NEVER saw a hamburger like that before. Impossible to take the cheese off. The other hamburger that came was also dry and tasteless.

  2. Mike

    August 10, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Not Beaverton’s only brewery, Uptown Market now owns that designation.

    • Samurai Artist

      August 10, 2015 at 10:55 pm

      I have referred to Uptown as a Beaverton brewery, but technically they are a Portland brewery and they have a Portland address.

  3. Noel

    August 11, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    FWIW, I waited a few months before trying it out. I did not come back despite working in Beaverton. Why? The beer was good enough – average to above average. However, the pub lacked any conviviality whatsoever, the service was erratic and uninformed, and the food did not live up to the pretense. Brewpub rule number 1: make people feel comfortable. Brannons: fail.

    Another problem is the loser location. There is no foot traffic and Cedar Hills is one of the worst biking streets in Bvtn, which means no reason for people to be in the neighborhood with time on their hands. Putting your brewpub near another brewpub is smart. Putting it on a busy boulevard by itself is not.

    The whole enterprise was an overwrought overreach, now it’s just over.

  4. Bob

    August 11, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    This place has lots of potential because the beer is some of the best in Portland and Beaverton. The major issue was food quality and marketing. The signage is horrible, nobody I know, who are big happy hour beer drinkers, even knew the place existed. Get a quality chef staff, new menu, make the place more cozy and this could be a big winner. With the Brick Oven Pizza, this place has the potential to be the best Pizza Place in Beaverton and our city certainly needs an excellent pizza place. At the end of the day: Marketing + Great Pizza + Great Beer + Great Management = MegaBucks. Some entrepreneur needs to step up… this place has massive potential. Could you imagine one of those SE Hawthorne Pizza Places in this space like Apizza Scholls or Ken’s Artisan… that would cause lines out the door!!

  5. Lauren

    August 12, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Just because Brannon’s didn’t make it in Beaverton doesn’t mean another brewery wouldn’t do exceedingly well in the area. It was pretty obvious B’s spent too much money in their build-out and brewery operation and the result was a lifeless front-of-house, sub-par service, and mediocre beer. [ Also – our experience with the owner wasn’t…great…] I don’t think i’m exaggerating by saying that they had the whole city of Beaverton rooting for them; and B’s left them unsatisfied and driving back into Portland for a brewpub.

    With that said, the location is a great opportunity for a brewery. With the Westgate complex moving forward, that area is about to burst. It’s an amazing opportunity for a brewery to open (with minor renovations) here in central Beaverton…!!

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