Redhook Ale Brewery, headquartered in Seattle, Washington, announced the layoff of 20 people, which is half of its workforce, in its main brewery in Woodinville, Washington. As reported the dismissal does not affect the adjacent retail pub.
Scott Mennen, chief operating officer of Craft Brew Alliance, the parent company of Redhook, blamed a poor production level and a lower than anticipated contract volume for the measure. Especially the figures for Pabst Mountain Ale, which is one of the biggest brewing contracts at the facility, are depressed. Still, Redhook continues to brew its Redhook beers and dozens of other contract brands at the site.
The news follows a series of negative announcements, which have shaken the American craft beer industry in recent weeks. Other U.S. craft beer icons like Boston Beer Company and Stone Brewing have reported negative earnings or rigid cost cutting measures and layoffs.
It is clear to most observers that the unprecedented growth of the sector will soon come to a halt. While many more craft breweries in the U.S. are scheduled to open in the months to come, the pioneers of craft brewing step back and sell their breweries. In the past 2 years, companies like Ballast Point, Lagunitas, Elysian, 10 Barrel, Hop Valley, Founders, Firestone Walker, Terrapin, Revolver, Devils Backbone, Saint Archer and Brooklyn Brewery were partially or completely sold. Buyers are the large domestic players like Anheuser Busch (through its subsidiary Craft Brew Alliance), MillerCoors (through Tenth and Blake), Constellation Brands or international brewers like Heineken (Netherlands), Duvel Moortgart (Belgium) or Kirin (Japan).