Widmer Closes Pub and Restaurant for a Concept Refresh

More bad news for the beer industry today. At a Widmer Brothers Pub staff meeting this morning everyone–or nearly everyone–was laid off with zero notice, with some employees receiving severance packages. Effective immediately, Widmer Brothers Brewing is shutting down the brewpub, previously called the Gasthaus. The space will reopen as a tasting room focusing on beers made on the pilot 10bbl brewery recently installed next door. I knew a special tasting room for that system was coming, but no one knew it was going to be at the expense of the full bar and restaurant. The Widmer Pub is closed as of now and will undergo a remodel that removes the kitchen in exchange for small snacks and expanding the retail/dock sales and tasting room style merch store experience. While the pilot batch series/innovation brewing stuff is exciting and I am glad the brewery is getting a bigger showcase, the full pub and restaurant is a Portland staple and an underrated gem. The pub served some of the best German and Pub food in town and had a reliably interesting selection of beers on tap.

The following is Widmer Brothers Brewing’s announcement, which was made via their Facebook page:

Today we are announcing that our pub is shifting from a full-service restaurant to a dedicated pub/tasting room to support the focus on our new 10-barrel innovation brewery and small-batch beer program.

Starting today, we will begin remodeling the pub and building a new tasting room to expand our small-batch capabilities and give our guests more visibility and access to our small batch brewery, our brewers and the brewing process.

With this shift, we will no longer have an operating kitchen and will be serving light snacks only.

While we are under construction, the main bar area of the pub will remain open throughout the remodel. The pub will be temporarily closed for construction until this Wednesday, November 15, 2017. When we reopen, the new pub hours will be: Monday to Friday 3-10pm, and Saturday and Sunday noon-10pm (retail hours will remain the same).

As part of the remodel, we are:

– Creating more visibility into and putting people closer to our 10-barrel innovation brewery from both the current pub space and the new tasting room.

– Expanding our small-batch barrel aging capabilities and planning to package select small-batch releases in cans and bottles in 2018.

– Moving and expanding our retail store with beer-to-go/dock sales as part of the tasting room space.

– Upgrading our brewery tour to include better access to both breweries (innovation brewery and production brewery) – we are confident it will be one of the best brewery tours in the US.

We are planning a grand re-opening in Spring 2018 to celebrate the enhancements and new tour experience.

With these changes, we’re also planning to host more events at the brewery: brewer talks, beer releases, live music, and continuing to host community events like Pints for Portland.

The pub and new tasting room will be available for rent as private event spaces. The tasting room will be available for local community organizations to use free of charge (details to follow in March).

The beer garden, which we opened this past summer featuring beers brewed at the innovation brewery, will continue on a seasonal basis. We plan to explore hosting food trucks as a part of the beer garden on an ongoing basis.

Please note that during the remodel, we will not be holding tours, but our banquet kitchen will remain open for private events. Minors will be welcome during select hours and outside food will be welcomed, as well.

We hope to see you at the pub soon.

The Widmer Brothers team

Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

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


  • Mark Reber
    Mark Reber
    Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:18 PM

    That’s a sad turn of events, but consistent with the trajectory of Widmer Brothers from a local craft brewery into a regional, or national, brewery with ties to ABInbev. I suppose it was just a matter of time.

    • DeAnn Axon
      DeAnn Axon
      Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:48 PM

      Did you really not give your employees any notice as the article stated?

      • ElGordo
        Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:59 PM

        That’s what the article states. We’re not the actual business, so you’ll need to follow up with Widmer Bros to get a direct response.

      • Not cool bruh
        Not cool bruh
        Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:51 PM

        Not a fan of the brewery’s beer, but that’s a super shitty way to treat employees if true.

        • Klee
          Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:38 PM

          Par for course for how CBA treats its employees. They invested heavily in the pub not too long ago and then turn around and do this. Also par for course how they run the entire Corporation.

          • Floyd Shebley
            Floyd Shebley
            Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:03 AM

            That’s what you’d expect from AB, which the Widmer sold out to years ago. Sad that even in Portland Trump economics seems to prevail. Glad we sold our small investment in Craft Brew Alliance a few years ago.

            • Shuf
              Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:34 PM

              Actually Floyd, Widmer only sold a small piece of the business, 10% if I remember correctly, to AB. Widmer wanted access to AB’s distribution network, which was part of the deal.

              • Samurai Artist
                Samurai Artist
                Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:49 AM

                actually actually, AB owns a major 32% stake in Widmer, enough to disqualify them from being called a “craft brewery” by the Brewers Association guidelines.