Amnesia Brewing to close Friday

The building’s owner, who will retain the brewing equipment, hopes to announce a new brewery at the location in January

By Troy Brynelson, Columbian staff writer

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A slide in sales has sealed the fate of Amnesia Brewing, which moved from Northeast Portland to grow its brewery in Washougal.

The brewery will cease operations Friday. Meanwhile, the kitchen and taproom will remain open. The building owner, who will retain the brewing equipment there, expects to have a new brewery announced in January.

Amnesia Brewing hoped to thrive on the growing Clark County scene when it moved here in 2013, but distribution sales for the brewery stayed flat or declined. Guy Nunez, Amnesia’s general manager, chalked it up to growing competition, both from local breweries and national brands.

“There’s certainly a lot more competition for the taps,” Nunez said.

Meanwhile, sales at its taproom have never really been strong enough to buoy the brewing operations. He said Washougal offered considerably less foot traffic for pint sales than Northeast Portland, where the business operated from 2003 to 2013.

“On a Friday or Saturday night on Mississippi (in Portland), we could have anywhere from 1,000 customers and sell 1,500 to 2,000 pints,” Nunez said. “Our best nights in Washougal were probably selling 200 pints.”

Amnesia had a staff of eight, most of whom plan on continuing the kitchen and taproom functions at the building. Nunez said he and founder Kevin King will start looking for other opportunities and expect to start something new in Clark County.

“We had a good time in Washougal; we appreciated the customers we had,” he said. “It’s a great building. There were a lot of renovations before we moved in. It’s a nice home.”

Lone Wolf Investments spent about $1.4 million to renovate the 5,500-square-foot building and equip it with a 15-barrel brewing system. President Wes Hickey said Amnesia’s closure was a “natural evolution of businesses.”

“Things come and go,” he said. “A new brewer will come in soon. There’s a lot of interest, and I think somebody will be announcing by January that they’re going to move in there.”

Despite Amnesia’s losses, he was optimistic for the next tenant.

“I think a brewery can thrive in downtown Washougal,” Hickey said.