It had to happen. With the rapid growth of new brewery opening in the U.S. over the last 5-7 years coupled with almost zero closings, the time had to arrive when the rate of brewery closings would increase. This has been the year. It’s not a “bubble bursting,” but for the first time since the late 1990’s, we are starting to notice an uptick in breweries closing down across the American craft brewing landscape.
The numbers have not been fully tallied up for 2019 yet, but it is expected that the number of closings this year will more than double from the number last year. In 2018, 219 breweries ceased operation which was a closure rate of 3%.
This increase in brewery closings in not only expected, it is a natural process in a maturing industry. Many in the industry have said it is not only natural, it is healthy. The days of being able to open a brewery and “they would come” was not only unrealistic in the long run, it tended to support sloppy business practices, including mediocre service and often poor quality in the beer.
While no state or urban area was untouched from the culling of the herd, Portland, Oregon seemed to have the highest concentration of long time and well-established breweries close down. Well-known names like BridgePort Brewing Company, Rock Bottom, Lompoc Brewing, Burnside Brewing and others all closed their doors in 2019. More details on the Portland craft beer scene and the local closings here.