Roots Organic Brewing is closed

I’ve been remiss in writing about this earlier, but this week Roots Organic Brewing in Portland closed its doors suddenly; John Foyston has the story.

[Craig] Nicholls had been trying to sell the pub and brewery for a reported $450,000, but a couple of deals fell through and he said Tuesday that every day the pub stayed open, he went deeper in the hole. He retains all rights to the name and the beers however, and said that it was possible that his beers might still be brewed and bottled and found on  grocer’s shelves.

And some further details:

First, the good news. Roots ales will be on tap this weekend at Lompoc and Lucky Lab locations, thanks to those guys buying kegs and beer in a show of brewerly solidarity…and there is a dock sale this weekend, where you can buy cold kegs for $110 plus $100 deposit, cash/check only…you’ll e-mail Nicholls to return the keg…

10 a.m., Saturday, Roots Organic Brewing, 1520 S.E. Seventh Ave.

“We just reached the point where it was time to stop the bleeding and cut our losses,” said owner/brewer Craig Nicholls, who also runs the North American Organic Brewers Festival, which will continue. The closure shouldn’t be taken as a comment on organic beer or the health of the Portland brewing scene, because Roots fell victim to many of the ills that plague small businesses, including the economic downturn, under- capitalization and an unseasonably cold spring and summer, which has affected many Portland brewpubs.

It was especially hard on Roots, Nicholls said, which recently ceded its outside accounts because of distribution problems. Those accounts once were 60 percent of the pub’s income and a slump in the brewpub side further hurt the business. Nicholls has been trying to sell the pub for several months, initially for an asking price of $450,000. Five different buyers in Portland and beyond toyed with the idea, but even at a reduced price, none signed a deal.

Roots was the first organic brewery in Portland (indeed, it may have been all of Oregon) and I had only tried their beers from afar, never on the premises. And of course, I may now never get to try their Epic Ale.

What’s going to become of the space, I wonder?

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