There’s been a bit of buzz in the craft beer scene about recent news that Laurelwood Brewing Co. will be contracting the production of some mainstay brands with Craft Brew Alliance (CBA). CBA includes the brands Widmer, Redhook, and Kona. Despite some worries and presumptions from on-line chat threads such as BeerAdvocate, this new venture does not mean that Laurelwood will be in any way owned by CBA, rather it will ensure a sizable expansion of Laurelwood’s production and their ability to put forth seasonal and one-off releases, according to brand manager Micah Bell. There will be some changes to Laurelwood’s organic beer production and adjustments in their flagship IPA, Workhorse, but in total, folks should see this as a positive move forward for the brewery who will be able to get their beer to a wider audience while expanding their specialty repertoire.
Here’s more details from a presser sent out from Laurelwood yesterday:
Portland, Ore – Laurelwood Brewing Co. is proud to announce a major expansion into national markets. Contracting with Craft Brew Alliance, Laurelwood is set to increase its production by as many as 15,000 barrels a year, making it finally possible to realize a long held goal of owner Mike De Kalb –packaging Laurelwood beers in 12 ounce glass bottles. With the rise of production, there will be a few changes, but the quality and consistency that gained Laurelwood its reputation will stay the same.
“We were looking to expand on our terms,” says De Kalb. “We didn’t want to change our line-up or the fact we are a Portland business by selling shares to outside interests. Instead we found a way to increase our production and keep Laurelwood a locally owned independent company.”
By working with CBA, Laurelwood gains access to the kind of equipment that can ensure quality and consistency, as well as close oversight by Laurelwood’s team of brewmasters. By using their own yeast strain, as well as carefully sourcing their ingredients, Laurelwood’s beer will continue to be distinctive, delicious and daring.
While the brewery’s flagship, Free Range Red, will no longer be a certified organic beer, Laurelwood plans to continue offering organic beers at its public houses. With regional organic hops in tight supply, as well as 2013 changes in the Certified Organic standards, De Kalb and his brewers decided to concentrate their organic program on beers such as Organic Tree Hugger Porter and a line of small batch specialty beers, allowing for greater creativity and innovation.
With their increased capacity, Laurelwood sees a bright future for Oregon brewing. The brewery that earned its reputation for being a neighborhood pub will be able to spread the Oregon brand while staying true to its values: community, taste, consistency, sustainability and keeping jobs in Portland. With its beers becoming increasingly accessible to more consumers, special beers like Megafauna Imperial IPA bringing home impressive awards and the continued loyalty and success of the local Laurelwood Pubs, there are more opportunities to raise a pint every day.
About Laurelwood Brewing Company
Laurelwood is a family owned brewery that creates one of the most recognized regional craft beers. Owners Mike De Kalb & Cathy Woo-De Kalb are dedicated to sustainable and organic practices, and first began producing certified organic beer in 2001. Laurelwood’s product line is known for its creativity and quality therefore winning many national and international beer awards. Laurelwood’s handcrafted beers can be found on draft and in bottles throughout Oregon and Washington. To find out more about Laurelwood Brewing Company go online at www.laurelwoodbrewpub.com.
About Craft Brew Alliance
Craft Brew Alliance is an independent, publicly traded craft brewing company that was formed through the merger of leading Pacific Northwest craft brewers – Widmer Brothers Brewing and Redhook Ale Brewery – in 2008. With an eye toward preserving and growing one-of-a-kind craft beers and brands, CBA was joined by Kona Brewing Company in 2010. Craft Brew Alliance launched Omission beer in 2012.