Craft Brew Alliance has laid off half the production workers at its Woodinville brewery, which was originally established to make Redhook beers but now primarily brews under contract for other companies.
Craft Brew Alliance (CBA) has laid off half the production workers at its Woodinville brewery, which was originally established to make Redhook beers but now primarily brews under contract for other companies.
The Portland-based brewer, which also makes and sells Widmer and Kona brand beers, earlier this year struck a deal to make Pabst Brewing’s new Rainier Pale Mountain Ale and other products, and gave Pabst an option to buy the brewery and adjacent Forecasters Pub.
However, said CBA Chief Operating Officer Scott Mennen in an email, “the volumes we expected through our contract brewing arrangement with Pabst have not materialized, and we were faced with the unfortunate need to reduce our production team by about half.”
Mennen called it “a very difficult decision, but one that was necessary for the long-term health of the Woodinville brewery and the business overall.”
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The company declined to say how many jobs were cut, or how many remain in Woodinville. Industry blog Brewbound, which reported the layoffs Tuesday, estimated that between 12 and 20 jobs were cut. Mennen told the blog CBA’s Woodinville facility is operating at 30 percent of its capacity.
As reported earlier, CBA is shifting primary brewing of Redhook — considered the granddaddy of Seattle craft brews — to its Oregon facility. Mennen said the Woodinville site “will continue to brew our contract partner beers, as well as all of our Redhook and Widmer Brothers 22-oz. brews.”
He added that the cutbacks do not affect the pub in Woodinville or “ongoing construction on the new Redhook brewpub in Capitol Hill.”
Mennen said CBA may rehire affected employees “if we see volumes increase,” and in the meantime is helping them find work, perhaps at other local breweries.
Pabst, which markets more than 30 beers including its namesake Pabst Blue Ribbon, has an option to buy the brewery and pub by December 2018 for $25 million or more, according to CBA’s regulatory filings.