Beaverton, Oregon’s only brewery, Brannon’s Pub & Brewery, closed 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.
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.