When urban strategist Michele Reeves was gathering input to help with the downtown revitalization effort asking what locals thnk of first when they think about Astoria, beer ranked very high in top of mind awareness. With good reason. As home to such growing microbrewers as Fort George and Astoria Brewing and boasting it's own Rogue brew-pub it's clear Astorians are big supporters of the trade. The same is true throughout the state. Governor John Kitzhaber today praised the successful partnership between local and state officials backing Pelican Brewing's plans to open an expanded brewery in downtown Tillamook.
The state of Oregon contributed a $150,000 forgivable loan from the Governor's Strategic Reserve fund to help finance the $1.4 million expansion project. Representatives of the Governor's office, State Senator Betsy Johnson, Tillamook County Commissioner Mark Labhart, Tillamook Mayor Suzanne Weber and Business Oregon Director Tim McCabe were on hand today at the brewery's construction open house in Tillamook.
"The work of state and local officials has yielded a real win for the Oregon Coast and Tillamook County," said Governor Kitzhaber. "More fine tasting beer and twenty new jobs - now that is an Oregon solution."
The Governor's Regional Solutions Team and Business Oregon officials helped Pelican remain in Tillamook County and the city of Tillamook find a vital use of an underutilized industrial land as part of its urban redevelopment efforts. Financing partners for the project include the brewery owners, the Bank of Astoria, the Tillamook Urban Renewal Agency and the state of Oregon.
"This is the 18th Oregon brewery we've worked with to expand production," said Business Oregon Director Tim McCabe. "Together these small businesses are creating a big impact."
The Oregon Brewers Guild reports that the industry employs 6,400 full- and part-time workers in Oregon and produced $2.83 billion in total annual economic impact in 2012.
The planned expansion of the former warehouse is expected to create 20 new jobs by 2015 and will allow the brewer to offer more of its award-winning ales in 12-ounce bottles, in addition to 22-ounce offerings. The new brewery, which will also include a tasting room and viewing area when it opens later this summer, will eventually produce 11,000 barrels of beer annually. The company, which currently employs 130, plans to continue to operate its restaurant and pub, as well as a small brewing operation, at its beachside location in Cape Kiwanda.