Vagabond Brewing Is Opening a Southeast Portland Brewpub

Apparently, Portland does not have enough breweries, as the latest on that growing list is Vagabond Brewing who plans to open a new location in inner southeast later this year. The Salem-based brewer opened in 2014 and has expanded to include a tangentially related Salem-centric beer bar called Victory Club and in 2017 opened the Vagabond Outpost in Albany as the company currently complete a brewhouse upgrade in its original location. The Portland expansion will include its own brewery, taproom and restaurant.

Vagabond Brewing PDX is an anchor tenant in the Dairy Blocks development in inner southeast Portland, south of Division St. and just two blocks from the recently shuttered Ross Island Brewing. It’s a bit of a barren area of warehouses and dereliction that is showing signs of life thanks to the Ford Building and Jimmy’s Tire & Annex redevelopments that are just a few blocks from The Dairy Building. Though the previously mentioned mixed-use developments are located on busy Division Street, The Dairy Building won’t have much foot or vehicle traffic on SE 8th Avenue between Division and Powell. That’s even less visibility than the recently closed Ross Island Brewing had on Powell Blvd, just two blocks away from The Dairy Building. However, Vagabond co-founder Dean Howes is confident in overcoming these hurdles and sees an opportunity.

“Our experience as both brewers and businessmen has been proven and we are proud of the growth we have seen in the last 4 years and are confident that we can continue that in Portland,” said Howes on whether he was concerned about succeeding in that area.

the basic layout of Vagabond Brewing’s Portland space

Vagabond has a tight relationship with the owner of the Dairy Building project, as their landlord and consultant they have worked with in the past that Howes describes as more of a mentor, friend and partner rather than the person they have to answer to and pay. According to Howes, the space and arrangement they have with The Dairy Building will afford them a rare opportunity for a full restaurant, bar, patio, live music and a showpiece 7bbl brewhouse. He also feels it’s a good jumping off point to major changes in the Portland landscape and projected growth. The Dairy Building is only a couple of blocks off of the MAX Orange Line and features 40,000 sf of rental space with conference rooms, a common kitchen, an amphitheater, and over 150 on-site parking spaces.

Vagabond Brewing’s new Salem brewhouse being installed

Vagabond Brewing is in the midst of installing a new brewhouse in its main Salem location, but is also looking forward to breaking ground soon on construction of a Portland pub. You don’t see many Vagabond Brewing beers in Portland; when you do, it is self-distributed, but Howes says, “This new space will allow us to showcase our popular flagship beers as well as allow us to produce limited batch Portland specific brews.”

Vagabond Brewing will soon be looking to hire a full-time Portland brewer as well as bar and kitchen staff as soon as it gets a more concrete buildout timeline, but Howes is hoping to open by late summer of 2018.

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:


  • Steve Kuenzi
    Steve Kuenzi
    Tue Feb 6, 2018 12:05 AM

    Great news and a thorough article.

    How do I get on there?

    • JF
      Tue Feb 6, 2018 11:22 PM

      I appreciate the skepticism here. Modern Times walked into town with $18 four-packs. Ancestry and Double Mountain haven’t lit the world on fire during their time here. I’m starting to fear that all the wrong lessons have been taken for Rogue’s, Deschutes’ and 10 Barrel’s presence in town.