Widmer Brothers Invests $3 Million in Portland Brewery Expansion

PORTLAND, OR — Widmer Brothers Brewing is expanding its Portland, Ore., brewery to increase production by as much as 10,000 to 12,000 barrels per month. Beginning Monday, May 21, the brewery will install the first two of four new 1,750 barrel fermentation tanks. This expansion reaffirms the brewery’s commitment to growing Oregon’s craft beer industry, fuels local job creation, and allows the company to increase production while remaining at its North Portland location.

“We are thrilled to expand the brewery. Our last expansion was in 2008, and we’re to a point where increasing the brewery’s capacity has become necessary for further growth,” said Kurt Widmer, co-founder of Widmer Brothers Brewing. “This expansion is not only a significant landmark for Widmer Brothers, but for the Oregon craft beer community. While national domestic beer sales are declining, craft beer is on the rise and the Portland brewing community is largely behind driving the innovation and excitement for the craft beer industry.”

The company is investing more than $3 million in the expansion, which is part of a multi-phased growth project that includes a $1.7 investment in the new fermentation tanks, and a $1.3 million investment in the brewery’s bright tank cellar which is due to be complete in the fall. The expansion will increase the brewery’s production capacity by 140,000 barrels per year, estimating to a total annual capacity of 700,000 to 800,000 barrels and will serve the needs of Widmer Brothers Brewing and the Craft Brew Alliance portfolio. The brewery expects to be operating at full capacity by 2013 and will now run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The new tank (via Widmer Brothers facebook page)

“Nearly thirty years ago when Kurt and I sought out to start a brewery, we never imagined where it would lead,” said Rob Widmer, co-founder of Widmer Brothers Brewing. “The Widmer Brothers Brewing team is producing incredible beers and is really driving the potential of what craft beer can be. We’re extremely proud of how far the brewery has come and look forward to the opportunities presented by this expansion.”

The fermentation tanks, built by Paul Mueller Company in Springfield, Mo., will be the largest in the Pacific Northwest. Because of their size, the tanks are being transported by truck on a specially organized route, and the installation will require one of the largest cranes available on the West Coast.

The tank installation process will begin at 6:30 a.m., and will include the removal of the roof on the brewery to allow for the tank installment. The final two tanks will arrive and be installed on Monday, June 4.

About Widmer Brothers Brewing

What started as a dream for two ordinary brothers who just loved beer has now become a reality for two ordinary brothers who still just love beer. Kurt and Rob Widmer helped lead the Pacific Northwest craft beer movement in 1984 when, in their 20s, they dreamed of brewing unique interpretations of traditional beer styles. In 1986, Widmer Brothers Brewing introduced the first American-style Hefeweizen; today, the unfiltered cloudy beer is the company’s signature brew and one of the best-selling wheat beers in the country. Based in Portland, Ore., the brewery currently brews a variety of beers including Drifter Pale Ale, Nelson Imperial IPA, Rotator IPA Series, Drop Top Amber Ale and Pitch Black IPA. For more information about Widmer Brothers Brewing, visit www.widmerbrothers.com.

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