Craft Brew Alliance (CBA) has taken a small step forward in expanding its nearly 3-year-long partnership with Massachusetts-based Cisco Brewers, today announcing plans to rebrand the Redhook pub in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, as an “island-inspired” destination.
In a press release, CBA – which makes and markets the Kona, Redhook, Widmer, Omission, and Square Mile cider lines, and has strategic partnerships with Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Wynwood Brewing and Cisco — called the decision to convert the Redhook pub “an easy one,” pointing to the fact that the Nantucket-headquartered brewery’s flagship offerings, Whale’s Tale Pale Ale and Grey Lady, have been brewed and packaged at the Portsmouth facility since late 2015.
“Over the years, we’ve grown closer to the local community as our core portfolio has been brewed, packaged, and served here through our partnership with CBA,” Cisco Brewers CEO Jay Harman said, via the release. “The Redhook Portsmouth pub and grounds have been a great destination for craft beer fans and music lovers for over two decades, and our long-term plan is to gradually upgrade the indoor and outdoor space to recreate a little slice of Nantucket Island right here in Portsmouth.”
Beginning next week, CBA and Cisco will begin initial renovations on the pub and the space will “organically transform” over the next year, the release noted.
The decision to turn the space over to Cisco comes about seven months after CBA promised investors that it would “revisit” its brewpub strategy in the face of declining sales and slowing foot traffic. Around the same time, CBA eliminated full-service kitchen operations at its Widmer pub in Portland, Oregon.
Those moves have helped the company improve profitability and pay down debt, according to CEO Andy Thomas.
CBA, which purchased a 24.5 percent stake in Miami’s Wynwood Brewing for $2.1 million in 2017, has yet to fully execute on its stated intent to acquire equity positions in both Cisco and Appalachian Mountain Brewery.
“We continue to be very happy with our partners, and as stated before, we remain interested in pursuing equity positions with all of them and are in the process of working towards that,” Thomas wrote to Brewbound.
Earlier this year, CBA eliminated its emerging brands division and shifted its strategy to focus more on innovation instead of M&A.
And midway through 2017, CBA opened the Redhook Brewlab in Seattle, which features a 10-barrel brewing system, 16 draft beers and seating for 260 people.
A press release with additional details on CBA’s decision to rebrand the Portsmouth pub under the Cisco banner is below.
LAND, HO! CISCO BREWERS TO OPEN NEW MAINLAND PUB IN PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE
Popular Nantucket-based Cisco Brewers will create island-inspired guest experience in former Redhook Portsmouth Pub
PORTSMOUTH, NH (June 14, 2018) –Nantucket-based Cisco Brewers will be bringing a slice of its laid-back island lifestyle to Portsmouth this summer with a new pub and event venue in Portsmouth. The location, which has operated under the Redhook brand since the 1990s, is owned by Craft Brew Alliance (CBA), which also owns and operates the Portsmouth brewery where it brews and packages a variety of CBA and partner brands.
The decision to transform the pub was an easy one for CBA and Cisco, who entered into a brewing and distribution partnership in 2015 to support Cisco’s growth in the Northeast. Cisco beers, including core favorites Whale’s Tale Pale Ale and Grey Lady, have been brewed at CBA’s Portsmouth brewery since the partnership began, and the Cisco portfolio has continued to grow with the addition of Madaquet IPA and the new grapefruit Gripah IPA.
Commenting on the new pub, Cisco Brewers CEO Jay Harman said, “Portsmouth is the perfect New England coastal town for us. Over the years, we’ve grown closer to the local community as our core portfolio has been brewed, packaged, and served here through our partnership with CBA. The Redhook Portsmouth pub and grounds have been a great destination for craft beer fans and music lovers for over two decades, and our long-term plan is to gradually upgrade the indoor and outdoor space to recreate a little slice of Nantucket Island right here in Portsmouth.”
The current Portsmouth pub staff will remain in their current roles with the rebranding, and Cisco is sending a large portion of its pub team from Nantucket to Portsmouth next week for a Cisco-brand “boot camp.” Over the next year, Cisco plans to organically transform the pub into a family-friendly hang out spot in the Nantucket mold.
“We’re really excited about the transition of our Portsmouth pub to an ‘off-island’ destination for Cisco lovers,” said Scott Mennen, COO of CBA. “The CBA Portsmouth brewery plays an important role as our east coast brewing hub and in the local community here, and we look forward to continuing to support the growth of this popular New England brand.”
Redhook continues to thrive in its local Seattle market, most recently opening a pub and innovation brewery called Redhook Brewlab in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle in 2017. Meanwhile, packaged Redhook beers will still be available at retail locations in New Hampshire.
Cisco Brewers Portsmouth Summer Kick Off Party
The Portsmouth pub will be temporarily closed from June 18 through June 21 for initial renovations and reopen with a new menu and wide variety of Cisco beers on tap at 11:00am on Friday, June 22. The outdoor beer garden will remain open during the temporary pub closure.
Cisco’s Summer Kick Off Party will kick off at 6:00pm on the 22nd, featuring fresh Cisco beers on tap, live music, food trucks, lawn games, as well as wine and spirits, courtesy of Cisco Brewers’ Nantucket Vineyard and Triple Eight Distillery.
Admission is free and open to all ages, even dogs are welcomed on the patio if they’re leashed! More details about the opening party can be found on Cisco’s Facebook page here.
About Cisco Brewers
Located near Cisco Beach on the island of Nantucket, Cisco Brewers is Nantucket’s first craft brewery. Founded by hard-working, entrepreneurial islanders who started selling beer from their outdoor brewery in 1995, Cisco has carved out its own special place where they tough out winters to celebrate summers. Over the years, Cisco has attracted a cult following among visitors and opens its doors to anyone making the trek. Named a top travel destination by Time Magazine, The Huffington Post, and Travel & Leisure, Cisco’s brewery is a common ground where people from all walks of life connect over classic and approachable craft beers like Whale’s Tale Pale Ale, Grey Lady, Indie IPA, Shark Tracker and Sankaty Light Lager. For more information about Cisco Brewers, visit http://www.ciscobrewers.com/.
About Craft Brew Alliance
Craft Brew Alliance (CBA) is an independent craft brewing company that brews, brands, and brings to market world-class American craft beers.
Our distinctive portfolio combines the power of Kona Brewing Company, a top national craft beer brand, with strong regional breweries and innovative lifestyle brands Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Cisco Brewers, Omission Brewing Co., Redhook Brewery, Square Mile Cider Co., Widmer Brothers Brewing, and Wynwood Brewing Co. CBA nurtures the growth and development of its brands in today’s increasingly competitive beer market through our state-of-the-art brewing and distribution capability, integrated sales and marketing infrastructure, and strong focus on partnerships, local community and sustainability.
Formed in 2008, CBA is headquartered in Portland, Oregon and operates breweries and brewpubs across the U.S. CBA beers are available in all 50 U.S. states and 30 different countries around the world. For more information about CBA and our brands, please visit www.craftbrew.com.