BridgePort Brewery Ceases Brewing Operations, Brew Pub To Close March 10, 2019

Discussion in 'Northwest' started by Todd, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,633) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff

    From a recent post on their Facebook page:
    ---
    Dear Friends of BridgePort,

    Today we unfortunately announce that the BridgePort Brewery will cease brewing operations effective immediately, while the BridgePort Brew Pub will close effective March 10th, 2019. The decision to close was extremely difficult for all involved. Back in April 2017, declining sales caused the brewery to restructure its operations. However, sales and distribution continued declining in the extremely competitive craft beer market of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, which resulted in this final decision.

    We extend our most sincere thanks and gratitude to our hardworking brewers, pub staff, our suppliers, and sales and marketing team for their dedication to BridgePort over the years. Because of their contributions, BridgePort’s enduring legacy as Portland’s craft beer pioneer will always be remembered.

    We communicated this news earlier today to our employees and all are being provided with comprehensive severance packages.

    We would also like to thank you—our BridgePort drinkers, pub customers, and fans—for your loyal support over the past 35 years. We invite you to stop by the pub for one last pint before we close next month. We would love to host you and reminisce one last time.

    With our heartfelt appreciation,

    The BridgePort Team
    ---
     
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  2. derftron

    derftron Disciple (322) Feb 8, 2012 Oregon

    damn, thats crazy. another one bites the dust. I feel bad for all of those who are losing a job.

    ill keep my opinions to myself on why this probably happened, but if my personal experience is any indication, I probably havent purchased a bridgeport beer (bottle or draft) in over 10 years.
     
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  3. weaverr

    weaverr Initiate (147) Jun 10, 2008 Oregon

    Wow, I guess I sort of saw that coming but was living blissfully in denial. I stopped in the pub every few months - they had a pretty good happy hour. In the past year it appeared their brewers were given a little more freedom to create one-offs and they added a bunch of draft lines but I guess it was too little too late. Bittersweet Flagship February for a historic brewery that relied too heavily on its flagships to go under.

    What's even more sad is that facility is huge and I doubt they can repurpose it, so instead we'll get another mid-rise condo building in the Pearl.
     
  4. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,261) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    End of an era. Their IPA was one of the first I ever had.
     
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  5. Mebuzzard

    Mebuzzard Poo-Bah (3,497) May 19, 2005 Colorado
    Trader

    We held onto them for as long as we could at the store. Hop Czar and Kingpin did well, but I think it was 2 years ago that we finally replaced them with more local beers. Personally, I really liked their Pintail Ale as an "everyday" beer. Glad, at least, that they offered a severance package.
     
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  6. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,113) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Premium Trader

    Karl Ockert made the first Oregon (maybe NW?) fresh hop beer at Bridgeport. Long Ball made me rethink golden ales. They distributed a Port barrel aged beer in 12oz bottles within the past 12 months. The Stumptown Tart pin-up girls. My first Blue Heron and Bridgeport IPA, for crying out loud. Those memories aren’t enough to keep a brewery afloat, but I respect the hell out of them and will be sad to see them go.
     
  7. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,388) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    BridgePort is owned by the Gambrinus Company, which began in the 1980s as one of two US importers for Modelo/Corona, and later bought Spoetzl (Shiner brand), BridgePort, and also set up and owns the Trumer brewery in California. They lost the import rights for the Modelo brands in 2006. The company also owned the contract-brand, Pete's, after Slosberg and the other owners sold out in the late 1990s, discontinuing it in 2011.

    Not sure who is the "BridgePort Team" but obviously the decision what made back in Texas at the corporate headquarters. Likely they will continue to own the brand name.
     
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  8. NWer

    NWer Crusader (761) Mar 10, 2009 Washington

    Sad to see them go but not sad enough apparently since I'd had none of their beers in quite a while. Hop Czar was a favorite years ago. I would buy it by the case at Costco. Too bad that the pioneers who made all this possible are going by the wayside.
     
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  9. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,273) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Trader

    This is me as well. There was a time (when I was living in Sacramento) when Bridgeport was my favorite craft brewery, and Blue Heron and their IPA were a staple in my fridge. Trips to Portland back then always included visits to the old pub, where I could get a slice and an imperial pint of their XXXXX stout on cask. No matter where else I planned to go during my stay, a stop at the old pub was a given.

    That being said, it's probably been 15 or 20 years since I last stopped by the pub on NW Marshall St. Like you, I can't remember the last time I purchased a Bridgeport beer. It seems like the craft beer industry in PDX has continued to evolve, and unfortunately Bridgeport didn't evolve with it.
     
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  10. distantmantra

    distantmantra Meyvn (1,023) May 23, 2011 Washington
    Trader

    I used to drink a ton of Hop Czar six or seven years ago now, but it's been a while since I had some. I'd always buy their fresh hop bomber every year, though.

    Curious how many of the large established WA and OR breweries will survive. Maritime Pacific and Hales can't be doing all that well.
     
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  11. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,273) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Trader

    The same thought crossed my mind, though at least in the case of Maritime and Hales, I still see their beers on tap at various taphouses whenever I'm up in the Tacoma or Woodinville area. I don't know when the last time was that I saw a Bridgeport beer on tap here in town (or for that matter, anything from Rogue or Caldera).
     
    #12 John_M, Feb 12, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
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  12. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,352) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Premium Trader

    Omg! :slight_frown:
    They periodically showed up in Casper and I always sought out the IPA. My 4.45 rating confirms that I really dug that beer. I can't think of another IPA that resembles it.
     
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  13. TaborTime

    TaborTime Disciple (340) Dec 10, 2013 Oregon

    When I moved to Portland in 2012 the Bridgeport taproom on Hawthorne was a regular spot of mine. Cool Asian-inspired menu at that time and pints of Blue Heron were right up there with my favorite initial Portland beer experiences.
     
  14. Reidrover

    Reidrover Poo-Bah (2,957) Jan 14, 2003 Oregon

    Sad. I loved Bridgeport IPA back in the early 2000s ..used to see it in most dive bars.
    Now my local dive had RPM and Pallet Jack.
    I guess that tells the story.
     
  15. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,113) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Premium Trader

    Don’t you put that bad juju on Caldera! :astonished:
     
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  16. NWer

    NWer Crusader (761) Mar 10, 2009 Washington

    Caldera beers don't impress me that much either.
     
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  17. jakecattleco

    jakecattleco Poo-Bah (1,923) Sep 3, 2008 California
    Premium Trader

    Agreed. I grab a bottle of Mogli every now and then, but that's it.
     
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  18. ppilot

    ppilot Initiate (85) Jul 17, 2009 Oregon

    It's not a secret that the market disconnect was growing exponentially as the owners really didn't understand craft beer from a non macro standpoint. Investment and keeping brewing talent in-house plummeted
     
    #19 ppilot, Feb 13, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
  19. sharpski

    sharpski Meyvn (1,113) Oct 11, 2010 Oregon
    Premium Trader

    Losing Toasted Coconut Porter would suck.
     
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  20. Texwild

    Texwild Initiate (76) May 1, 2008 Washington
    Industry

    I want to thank the entire BridgePort team for the years of great beers and inspiration we all received from their beer. Hell, I was inspired to create what would become Fremont Brewing while drinking many a BridgePort IPA as a homebrewer.

    And, cheers to Gambrinus for providing some sort of severance package for their team; too often brewery owners don’t see this coming and spend all their remaining funds without thinking of their employees.

    Cheers, Matt
     
  21. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,273) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Trader

    I agree, and it was a beer I was thinking about when I made my post. A year ago I used to see the porter on tap on a pretty regular basis around town. Hell, at one point Brendan over at Growler Guys told me he was thinking of having a semi-permanent tap handle for the beer, as it was THAT popular. I'm not sure that ever came to pass, but they frequently had it on tap.

    I haven't seen the porter on tap around town here in PDX in months. Might just be a coincidence, but considering how often I used to see it on tap around town, it did make me wonder a bit.
     
    #22 John_M, Feb 13, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
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  22. JohnnyU6

    JohnnyU6 Initiate (15) Jun 14, 2017 New Jersey

    Sorry to hear the news. Oh, well. After buying "craft beers" for about 30 years now and seeing many "craft breweries" pass on including some of my "favorites", life goes on. Many more will fold; we the consumers don't actually care because of all the choices available and sure to come. That's business.
     
  23. Spikester

    Spikester Poo-Bah (1,985) Jul 14, 2007 Oregon

    One of my favorite Portland breweries. It was getting hard to find lately and there are so many new beers to try. They used to bottle an ESB that I really liked. The IPA was great and Blue Heron PA as well.
     
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  24. Texwild

    Texwild Initiate (76) May 1, 2008 Washington
    Industry

    That’s dark and not how the craft scene was built. Respect is the theme on this PNW thread. Best intentions assumed but tone and timing are important.
     
  25. John_M

    John_M Moderator (6,273) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Premium Trader

    Just a tad bit cynical I thought, and not entirely accurate either. BTW. The Oregonian printed what I thought was a nice (albeit brief) article regarding the history of Bridgeport Brewing:

    https://expo.oregonlive.com/life-an...-will-close-brewery-pub-cease-operations.html

    The article brings back a lot of memories. Back in 1987, I was working at a place called Arthur's wine and liquor in Memphis, Tn. We thought of ourselves as a pretty serious wine store, and so the owner agreed to pay for our top wine guy to attend the International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon that year. He came back from the trip, regaling us about how much fun it was, how beautiful the area was, and how good the pinot noir was. One of the things he particularly liked, is that one of the days included a field trip into PDX to try some of the beer at this place owned by Dick Ponzi (he couldn't recall the name of the place - I don't think it was called Bridgeport back then). According to Dan, the beer at this place in PDX was every bit as good as the pinot noir he sampled during IPNC. He indicated that the trip to the brewery was one of the standout experiences of the IPNC back then.

    At that time, I had never been to Oregon, but it would be fair to say that I was absolutely green with envy after hearing about his trip, and vowed then and there that I too would one day attend the IPNC, and would sample beer at the fabulous brewery Dan was able to visit during his trip.

    RIP Bridgeport Brewing. You will be greatly missed. (My wife isn't a beer drinker, but wants for us to visit one last time for date night later this month - as she's never been there. I'm looking forward to it.).
     
    #26 John_M, Feb 14, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  26. weaverr

    weaverr Initiate (147) Jun 10, 2008 Oregon

    One of their Facebook comments suggested that there is a batch of Blue Heron fermenting right now, so we should see it one last time before they close. I know it's not the same as the original recipe, but that is my favorite beer of theirs.
     
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  27. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,705) Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Trader

    We consumers do care. Sure, we all like to try new stuff, but we also want our long-time favorites too. Especially when plenty of the new things can't hold a candle to the established beers.
     
  28. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Disciple (310) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon

    FWIW, that building is on the Register of National Historic Buildings, so there's no way in hell it's getting torn down without a lawsuit, City Hall review, and lots of protests. It still might happen, but it won't be easy.
     
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  29. Superheatnsubcool

    Superheatnsubcool Disciple (303) May 31, 2016 Washington

    I went down to the grocery store and picked up the last six pack of Bridgeport IPA they had. Now that I’m a couple bottles deep, it’s been a great stroll down memory lane. There’s something unique about the flavor profile. A touch of malt sweetness, light fruity notes, prominent citrus rind and noticeable bitterness.

    It evokes long, care-free summer days in the mid-2000’s, filled with barbecues, road trips, and coolers full of microbrew.

    Thank you Bridgeport, for fueling my lupulin obsession with Hop Czar. For producing iconic examples of IPA and Pale Ale. And for inspiring some of my favorite brewers, who continue to carry the torch and create memorable beers. RIP.
     
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  30. Reidrover

    Reidrover Poo-Bah (2,957) Jan 14, 2003 Oregon

    Just got back from Winco and the sadness and weirdness hit me they had the Bridgeport Rose IP and weirdly Hoptober IPA...its like in the last desperate throes they brewed any style of beer and threww in hops and named it "whatever" IPA.
    Bridgeport ..though i hae to say it would have been a great pick up for Miller or IN-Bev 10 years ago..the IPA appealed to lager drinkers.
    In memorium of old style PNW beers i bought a 6 of Rogue Hazelnut Nectar..drinking one now and to be honest either they changed the recipe ( it was cheaper than it was 8 years ago)..or my tastes have overtaken it..pleasant but mediocre.
     
  31. Reidrover

    Reidrover Poo-Bah (2,957) Jan 14, 2003 Oregon

    I think its the very different veiws for the craft beer revolution here in the PNW,, in regards to the rest of the nation it is "just a business", here in the 90s and early 2000s it was a revolution.
    Also a agreat many beer geeks do NOT look on old classics with memories like we do.
     
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  32. lanedlr

    lanedlr Aspirant (283) Jul 2, 2014 California
    Trader

    Second IPA I ever had after Stone. RIP.
     
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  33. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,133) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Terribly sad to hear this. I enjoyed a nice evening at the pub in my early days of discovering good beer (probably 25 years ago). Truly the end of an era.
     
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