Portland Brewing announces Taproom Closure

Portland Brewing announced the closure of their MacTarnahan’s Taproom today, Tuesday, November 6th 2018. The full restaurant and bar on-site of the breweries production facility that produces both Portland Brewing and MacTarnahan’s beers as well as Pyramid Breweries has been a Portland classic since 1986. The Portland Brewing Taproom was one of the oldest (it opened in 1994) still operating brewpubs in Portland until today.

Portland Brewing and Pyramid Breweries General Manager Robert Rensch said in an email today, “This is a bittersweet announcement coming in a year where we successfully relaunched the brand, are seeing increased rate of sale for our beers, launched our New Way IPA, and earned our 5th medal for MacTarnahan’s at the Great American Beer Festival.”

Anyone who has visited Portland Brewing knows that the location was always a struggle and it’s amazing the retail/hospitality side lasted as long as it did. It’s in a neighborhood with almost no foot traffic with just industrial warehouses and offices. Most of the areas population is blue collar workers driving trucks in and out of the area and not spending much time in the otherwise desolate neighborhood outside of their 9-5. The quality of the establishment and it’s food and drink were high, the building and its pub are one of the nicer places to enjoy lunch in town, I loved the patio and would try to stop in if I was in the neighborhood, but that was rare.

Last year I spoke to Portland Brewing employees who were hopeful that the just opened Sasquatch Brewing NW taproom and the upcoming Great Notion Brewing NW would bring people to the area. Great Notion is still not fully open and I am not sure if the Sasquatch NW taproom has panned out. In any case it would seem too little too late.

In the email announcement, Rentsch wrote:

“Earlier today we notified and thanked our employees who brought a love of beer and great service to work every day.  We are providing the 20 full and part-time restaurant employees a comprehensive severance package. We also want to extend a big thank you to our customers, including many long-time regulars, for supporting us over the years.  We will miss them.

We will be keeping the space formerly occupied by the restaurant, and are actively exploring alternate concepts to connect Portland Brewing Company brewers and their beers with the community.  Our direct-to-consumer “dock sales” of kegs and cases will also continue.”

Perhaps in a year or two we will see the NW industrial neighborhood take off a little more and they can reopen the pub, its a special part of Oregon beer history.

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