Half of production staff at Woodinville Redhook Brewery laid off

Half the production staff at Redhook Brewery are now looking for new jobs.

WOODINVILLE, Wash. — About 20 people were laid off from the Redhook Brewery in Woodinville Monday, as the owners of the company said production volumes weren’t as high as they anticipated.

Redhook Brewery in Woodinville is owned by Craft Brew Alliance, who also owns Widmer and Kona, among other brands.

In January, KIRO 7 reported CBA had a new contract with Pabst Blue Ribbon, who owns the Rainier brand. The collaboration meant Redhook Brewery, who currently brews about 60 different beers, would begin brewing Rainier Pale Mountain Ale.

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CBA’s chief operating officer, Scott Mennen, told KIRO 7 in a statement:

As a result of decreased production volumes in our Woodinville brewery, we had to make the difficult decision to lay off approximately half of our production team this Monday. It was a very difficult decision, but one that was necessary for the long-term health of the Woodinville brewery and the business overall.
We continue to brew Redhook in Woodinville, as well as other beers for our contract brewing partners.
If we see volumes increase, we will look for the opportunity to rehire employees as we can, but for the near-term, we are committed to helping our former employees through this transition.
This change did not impact our current pub in Woodinville or our ongoing construction on the new Redhook brewpub in Capitol Hill. We will be sharing more details about opening day in the next month or two.

Kendall Jones, who writes the Washington Beer Blog, said he knew something was wrong when he heard from a friend at another brewery this week.

“Somebody had walked into the brewery looking for a job, saying they had just been laid off from Redhook,” he said.

Jones said he was unfortunately not surprised to hear of the layoffs, because of the way Redhook’s business has been changing in recent years. He said he saw the writing on the wall when the announcement was first made.

“The story there was that they were resurrecting the most iconic brand in Seattle history, and here’s all of a sudden a blurb at the end of it, talking about how [Pabst Blue Ribbon has] the option to buy the brewery,” he said.

A CBA spokesperson said they had expanded their Portland brewery to become more efficient at producing large quantities. So they had transitioned beers to take advantage of that facility’s enhanced capabilities. That left the Woodinville facility with capacity to be filled, but the contract brewing volumes for Rainier Pale Mountain Ale did not materialize.

She added that the Redhook Brewery in Woodinville is still brewing Redhook and many other contracted beers for other brands.