Rainier Beer is Coming Home to Washington
January 12, 2016 - 10:04 AM- by Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog -
I grew up around here, the son of a man who described himself as "A Rainier Man." So this warms my heart just a little bit. Rainier Beer is coming home. Kind of. One thing is certain, before long people around Seattle will be able to buy a locally brewed bottle of Rainier Beer. Specifically, you'll be able to buy Rainier Beer in a pounder—the iconic 16-ounce Rainier Beer bottle.
First of all, understand the players. Rainier Beer, the iconic beer brand that for decades was known as "Seattle's beer," is a subsidiary of Pabst Brewing Company. It's been that way for years. The beer is brewed down in California at a brewery the size of a small city. THAT is about to change.
Rainier will begin producing Rainier Pale Mountain Ale at Redhook's brewery in Woodinville. And yes, they plan to package the beer in pounders. There's a lot of detail to this story. A lot of it is boring business crap. That's why I included the press release below. You can interpret it as you wish.
We'll figure out what all this means later, but for now, Rainier Beer is coming home. Kind of.
The following press release was issued by Craft Brew Alliance today:
CRAFT BREW ALLIANCE AND PABST BREWING COMPANY ANNOUNCE BREWING AGREEMENT
January 11, 2016
Pabst Subsidiary Rainier Brewing Company to Brew Rainier Pale Mountain Ale and Other Historic Beers at CBA’s Washington Brewery; Receives Option to Purchase Facility
Portland, Ore. and Seattle, Wash. (Jan. 11, 2016) – Craft Brew Alliance, Inc. (“CBA”) (Nasdaq: BREW), a leading craft brewing company, and Pabst Brewing Company (“PBC”), the largest American-owned brewer, announced today that they have entered into a brewing agreement that supports strategic growth objectives for both companies. PBC subsidiary Rainier Brewing Company (“Rainier”) will begin brewing Rainier Pale Mountain Ale, as well as other Rainier brands, at CBA’s brewery in Woodinville, Washington in the spring of 2016. As part of the agreement, PBC has been granted an option to purchase the Woodinville facility at any time during the next three years.
The agreement between CBA and Rainier provides benefits for both companies. As part of CBA’s strategy to continue evolving its national brewing footprint and drive financial profitability, the company is making significant investments to increase production capability and efficiency and support its growth in key markets. The expansion investments include increasing capacity in its largest and most efficient brewery in Portland to 750,000 barrels per year and building a new 100,000-barrel brewery in Hawaii. The agreement with Rainier enables it to maximize capacity in its Woodinville brewery while pursuing these expansion projects. For Rainier, the agreement marks a true homecoming with the return of brewing to its home state of Washington.
“This partnership with Rainier represents an important next step in our overall brewery optimization strategy, which is focused on leveraging the unique strengths and capabilities of each of our breweries to better balance production across our footprint and support our long-term growth,” said Scott Mennen, Chief Operating Officer, CBA. “Our partnership with Blues City in Memphis has enabled us to meet consumer demand for core brands such as Kona Big Wave Golden Ale and Redhook Long Hammer IPA, freeing capacity in our Portsmouth brewery to support exciting new strategic partnerships with Appalachian Mountain Brewery and Cisco Brewers. As we complete our Portland expansion and continue transitioning more volume to that brewery, we have been looking for an opportunity to best utilize our production team and capacity in Woodinville. With this brewing arrangement, we not only deliver positive impact to our bottom line, we support another beloved Northwest heritage brand, which benefits the industry and beer consumers overall.”
“We are thrilled to be returning to Rainier’s home state and to begin brewing at this wonderful Seattle facility within sight of Mount Rainier. We are excited to revive many historic Rainier beers from our archives – starting with Rainier Pale Mountain Ale, which will be offered in the iconic 16oz. Rainier ‘pounder’ glass bottle,” stated Greg Deuhs, PBC’s Master Brewer, who served as Director of Operations at CBA’s Woodinville facility from 2008-2012.
CBA’s Woodinville brewery, known as the Redhook Brewery, was built in 1994 and features a 200,000-barrel per year brewing and bottling operation. For more than 20 years, the Woodinville team has brewed a variety of Redhook and Widmer Brothers beers, as well as other brands for contract brewing partners. In 2015, CBA announced that Redhook will open a new brewpub in Capitol Hill in the heart of Seattle to celebrate the brand’s 35th anniversary in 2016. The new Seattle brewpub builds on Redhook’s legacy of transforming historic Seattle sites into innovative destinations for beer lovers.
Under the terms of the agreement, CBA will continue to operate the Woodinville brewery and adjacent Redhook Forecaster’s Pub.
Additional information about the agreement will be included in a current report on Form 8-K to be filed by CBA no later than Thursday, January 14, 2016.