Modern Times announced the move into Portland in a blog post on its website.
  • Modern Times announced the move into Portland in a blog post on its website.
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Modern Times Beer announced it has signed a lease to take over an existing 10,000-square-foot brewhouse in Portland, Oregon.

Modern Times Lomaland Fermentorium

3725 Greenwood Street, Midway District

In a blog entry posted to the Modern Times website, founder and CEO Jacob McKean explained that the company's Point Loma brewery is "capacity constrained," meaning it needed additional production space. However, he wrote, "I’m not interested in building a giant new brewery in some dreary suburban industrial park here in San Diego. It’s not my jam."

While other San Diego breweries have built production breweries in Berlin, Virginia, and Idaho, Modern Times will be the first to set up shop in a bona fide craft-beer capital. In the blog post, McKean cited the city's thriving food-and-beverage culture as influencing his decision to brew there, as well as its strong bike and design communities. "The area is also densifying rapidly," he added via email, “so it's only going to get more sustainable, more pedestrian-oriented, and more bike-friendly as the years go by."

McKean's blog further revealed that, had things gone a little differently, Modern Times might have started out as a Portland brand. "I gave serious consideration to starting Modern Times in PDX," he wrote. “I never gave up on the dream of building something in Portland."

Modern Times began distributing to the Pacific Northwest earlier this year, and McKean reports that "sales have significantly surpassed projections." He notes in the blog post that the "warm welcome we’ve received from beer drinkers and brewers alike" prompted him to start searching for a Portland property the company could build out and try to open by 2019.

However, before a location could be secured, McKean received an offer from Mike Wright, the owner of Portland's Commons Brewery, to lease his existing brewing space in Portland's trendy Southeast quadrant, located in a craft-centric industrial neighborhood within a few blocks of the Willamette River (6300 SE Belmont Street). McKean stressed his company is not buying the Commons, merely leasing its property.

However, since the turn-key space allows Modern Times to bypass the usual permitting and construction timelines, its new "production brewery" and "neighborhood hangout" will open far ahead of schedule. Modern Times officially takes over the space January 1st, 2018, and expects to open in February, with an initial brewing capacity of 7000 barrels per year.

Subsequently, Modern Times has also signed a lease for the adjacent 10,000-square-foot property at 600 SE Belmont Street, which will first be developed as a packaging plant for distribution throughout the Northwest and subsequently house a coffee-roasting operation, café, and restaurant.

McKean notes at least two existing Modern Times employees will make the move from San Diego to "ensure continuity with the mothership." General operations manager Michael Christy will move to Portland, as will cellar manager Mat Sandoval, who will head brewing operations.

In the meantime, Modern Times posted job openings earlier this week for its previously announced brewpub in downtown Los Angeles. McKean anticipates that location to open by the end of the year.

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ashwin July 18, 2018 @ 8:50 a.m.

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