Rivermile 38 Brewery is up for sale
Success is overtaking the Rivermile 38 Brewing Company in Cathlamet.
Demand for the company's variety of beers and ales has surpassed the founders' expectations and production ability.
“When is a business too good?" Richard Erickson, managing partner, asked this week. “There's no such thing as too much fun, but business is booming and we can’t keep up with demand.
"So we have decided it would be best for the Brewery if we sold it to someone that has the energy and resources to continue growing the business.
“Four years ago, we dreamed up a plan to build a brewery to help our community by bringing people into our little town and providing jobs for a few local people. This dream became reality a year later. We found a great location on the Columbia River in the Cathlamet marina. We were able to brew great beer, enjoy good friends and bring visitors into our community. Unfortunately, it has gotten too big for us.”
The brewers are either retired or hold full time jobs. They anticipated selling their brews in the local area. They open the brewery Fridays and Saturdays for four hours.
However, demand for their brew has surpassed expectations. Customers want the brewery open more hours to the public; distributors are moving the beer across Washington and now into Oregon.
“We really didn't think too many local people would drink a lot of craft beer," said Steve Sharp, treasurer/brewer, "but after being open for only three weeks, we realized we were wrong about that too, and we had to expand our tasting room. This required us to brew more beer.
“We thought occasional tourists or boaters would visit our brewery, but again we were wrong. Within months, we had yacht clubs wanting to hold meetings at the brewery, and other organizations and individuals were asking to book events at our brewery, and people were traveling from all parts of Oregon and Washington to visit our little brewery. This required us to brew more beer."
"We did not plan to distribute our beer in Washington until we were well established in Cathlamet," Erickson said, "but just two months after opening, a local distributor heard about our brewery and the great beer we were producing and soon our beer was being sold all over southwest Washington.
"Now, several businesses in Oregon want our beer. We are licensed in Oregon and we are signing a contract with an Oregon distributor in March. This will require us to brew more beer."
"Back when we were dreaming, we could not imagine the possibilities," said Andy Lea, production manager/brewer. "I guess we weren’t dreaming with enough imagination. We felt like it would be a fun hobby, not a full time job. Most of the current owners already have full time jobs outside of the brewery. Owning and operating a brewery is exciting, but the demand for more beer, more events, and more growth is just too much for us."
"We have decided that selling the brewery to someone who has the energy to keep up with the demand and grow the operation would be best for the brewery and the community,” Sharp said. “Therefore, we plan to sell the brewery as a complete business. This turnkey operation will include the equipment, recipes, inventory, improvements, the balance of a 20 year lease on the building, a highly skilled brewers’ assistant, and even limited instruction on brewing beer. Whoever buys the brewery can walk in and start brewing the day they take over. We have a built-in clientele, annual events, and three full years of marketing our brand. We also are partners with seven other breweries on the Columbia River Beer Trail."
“Our mission was and is to serve great beer and enhance the community,” Erickson said. "So, don't worry, we are here to stay and provide our quality beer until we find the right owner who will commit to fulfilling our mission and provide support for our community”.
The brewery has five part-time employees. One hundred "founders" came together three years ago, paying $250 as an initial investment to form the company. They'll celebrate their third anniversary on April 1.