Craft Brew Alliance has agreed to produce some Rainier varieties at the Woodinville brewery where it now makes Redhook beers.
In a confusing tangle of famous local beer names, Craft Brew Alliance has agreed to produce some Rainier varieties at the Woodinville brewery where it now makes Redhook beers.
Craft Brew also gave the Rainier brand’s owner, Pabst Brewing, a three-year option to purchase the brewery.
Among the Pabst offerings to be brewed at the 200,000-barrel-per-year facility starting this spring will be a new variety, Rainier Pale Mountain Ale, said to be “inspired by a pale ale made by Rainier Brewing Company just after the repeal of prohibition.”
A spokesman said it “will be made with Washington-grown hops and two-row barley to provide a solid malt backbone.”
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Portland-based Craft Brew Alliance, which in 2008 swallowed the Redhook brand and its two big breweries in Woodinville and in Portsmouth, N.H., said last August that Redhook had become “the least profitable brand in the portfolio,” with shrinking overall sales.
Its strategy has become to refocus regional beers in their original markets, where it says they continue to do well.
The company said Monday its deal with San Antonio, Texas-based Pabst means it can “maximize capacity in its Woodinville brewery” while it builds a new brewery in Hawaii for its popular Kona brand and expands “its largest and most efficient brewery in Portland to 750,000 barrels per year.”
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Craft Brew said the agreement calls for it to continue operating the brewery and the popular Redhook Forecaster’s Pub next door. It’s unclear what would happen if the option is exercised by Pabst, which describes itself as the largest U.S.-owned brewing company and markets about 30 brands of beer.