After moving from Portland across the Columbia River to Washougal, Washington in 2013, Amnesia Brewing has never gained the traction it once had at its former home on North Mississippi that is now StormBreaker Brewing. As of December 1, 2017, Amnesia Brewing will be joining the ranks of closed breweries. In the brewery’s space in Washougal, its restaurant partner, Alex’s BBQ will continue on.
The craft beer market is becoming much more competitive and as breweries continue to open others will end up closing its doors. The Washougal area is currently home to four breweries with Grains of Wrath Brewing set to open in 2018 in nearby Camas.
This growth and lack of increasing beer drinkers is negatively affecting breweries. And we are not immune here locally. The Commons Brewery will close its doors this Saturday. Then a week and half ago we received an email from Carston Haney stating that he is looking for investors or is willing to sell his barely one year old Ross Island Brewing. Times are getting much more difficult as the craft beer business is truly becoming just that, a business.
In 2016 Sean Thommen, then Amnesia Head Brewer relocated to Vietnam to become the Head Brewer at East West Brewing Co. It was at this time that sales began sliding and owner Kevin King began looking at potential suitable buyers but decided to go in a different direction with contract brewing. Well we recently heard that the contract side of his business was not prospering and the end was near.
We reached out to General Manager Guy Nunez about the status of the brewhouse and what the plans for it are. “Brewhouse is remaining in place. No decision on what will happen to it. As of now it is not posted for sale,” states Nunez.
Here’s the email that we received from Amnesia’s Guy Nunez regarding the final days of Amnesia Brewing. We wish Kevin and his crew well in their future endeavors.
To all our friends and followers…
Amnesia Brewing, in Washougal WA is announcing the closure of its Production Brewery, and operation of our Brewpub effective December 1, 2017. Since getting our start in 2003 on Mississippi St. in Portland, OR, Amnesia has been producing excellent craft beers that have been enjoyed across Oregon and Washington. Kevin King, owner and head brewer, is widely regarded as one of the best brewers in SW Washington, and throughout the Portland metro area, for over 20 years.
Moving to Washougal WA in 2013, Amnesia expanded its brewing capacity with a new production 15 bbl brew system, with 30 bbl fermenters and brite tanks. The hope was to increase distribution of both draft and packaged beer, while providing Washougal/Camas residents with their first craft Brewpub. A dedicated following grew quickly due to the hard work of Kevin, Guy Nunez, General Manager, and Sean Thommen, Master Brewer, as well as the entire pub staff. According to Guy, “Unfortunately, with breweries and taprooms opening up seemingly every month, the market has become somewhat saturated. On the one hand, the good news is that there are more beers to choose from, on the other, profit margins have slipped making it extremely tough financially without investor money, and that has never been our model. Nonetheless, I’m very satisfied that we initiated the Washougal/Camas area as a craft beer destination.” Since Amnesia opened, the area now is home to three other breweries, with a fourth set to open in early 2018. Said owner Kevin King, “I’m proud that Amnesia lasted for almost 15 years. My wife Kristina and I opened with just the money in our wallets. I brewed beers that developed a long term following, like our Copacetic IPA, and Sean created some amazing seasonal beers. As for my future, I’ve been brewing for over 25 years. I plan to keep brewing, just someone else’s beers, and hopefully lend my expertise to assisting in the creation or refining of the recipes. I have a lot of experience that would benefit the right situation.”
As for the future of the establishment, there is great news! Alex’s BBQ which partnered with Amnesia in 2014, will remain on location, serving up the delicious BBQ and array of other dishes customers have enjoyed for over three years now. Alex, along with his wife Carolina, will also take over operations of the pub, continuing to pour Amnesia’s beers while inventory lasts, as well integrating additional craft beers that are hard to find in Washougal. Said Kevin, “We just finished brewing our Winter Ale – Frosty’s Revenge, and we have one last batch of Copacetic to brew for Alex”. While Kevin and Guy have decided to pursue other endeavors, the great pub staff that is recognized throughout the community will remain as part of the new entity.
Amnesia Brewing thanks all of our customers and loyal beer drinkers, from the early years on Mississippi St., to Washougal, and across the Pacific NW, for their support and patronage over 15 years. We hope that you continue to support Alex and his wife in their new endeavor. If you have the opportunity over the next couple weeks, stop by and raise a pint to Amnesia Brewing! Prost!!
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.