Craft Brew Alliance hopes to rebuild the Redhook brand’s local roots with a Capitol Hill brewpub that’s opening in August. The Portland-based company will shutter its 22-year-old brewery in Woodinville’s tourist district this summer.
Redhook Ale’s Woodinville brewery launched beers such as E.S.B. and Ballard Bitter IPA into national prominence at the dawn of the craft-beer revival, and its capacity to brew 220,000 barrels a year makes it the state’s largest.
But the underutilized brewery will be shut down this summer and sold as owner Craft Brew Alliance of Portland refocuses Redhook on a new Capitol Hill brewpub where executives hope to revive the pioneering brand’s Seattle cachet.
“The plan is to put it on the market to sell,” said Craft Brew chief operating officer Scott Mennen in an interview ahead of the company’s Wednesday earnings report. “It’s a very nice brewery. It just doesn’t fit how we’ve evolved.”
The brewery and the adjacent Forecasters Pub are on a 20-acre site between the Sammamish River, with its biking and walking trail, and a string of wineries and restaurants in Woodinville’s popular tourist district.
The brewery will close by July 1; the pub remains open for now, but its ultimate fate is uncertain.
In an industry where production has outrun popularity, regional beers no longer sell so well outside their home turf. By the end of 2016, domestic shipments of Redhook had fallen 37 percent over two years. (Sales of the company’s Redhook and Widmer Brothers beers fell again in this year’s first quarter, the company said Wednesday as it reported an overall 13 percent year-over-year uptick in quarterly revenue thanks to its trendy Hawaiian brand, Kona.)
Despite a deal to churn out Rainier Pale Ale and other beers for Pabst Brewing, the Woodinville brewery has only been running at about 30 percent of capacity, said Mennen.
He said Craft Brew is…