The Beginning

1979 - HOME BREWING IS LEGALIZED IN OREGON

Back in ’79 it was tough for brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer to find beer that they enjoyed to drink. So, they took it into their own hands and began home brewing for themselves and their friends.

1984 - KURT AND ROB QUIT THEIR JOBS

Tired of working in the corporate world, Kurt and Rob decide to do what most people only dream of: quit their jobs and turn their beer hobby into a vocation. So, they scrounged up equipment from wherever they could, including a dairy tank turned mash tun, a shrimp cooker turned whirlpool and a 1970 Datsun pickup truck “borrowed” from their dad. Cobbling it all together, they built the Widmer Brewing Company in an industrial part of NW Portland, what is now the Pearl District.

1984 - WIDMER BREWING COMPANY OPENS

Widmer Brewing Company officially opens on April 2, 1984. Inspired by their German connections, the very first beer they perfect is Altbier, translated from German means “old beer.” Shortly after, the brothers follow up with Weizenbier, their interpretation of a filtered wheat beer.

Expansion

1986 - DUBLIN PUB CREATES A BUZZ

The first longtime account, the Dublin Pub, proudly carried both Altbier and Weizenbier. The owner is eager to expand his offerings and asks the Widmer brothers to make a third beer. This was tricky: the Brewery only had two fermenters at the time and the brothers couldn’t afford to buy another one. So, with a stroke of genius Kurt and Rob simply decided to leave their Weizenbeer unfiltered and put it directly into kegs, the result was a unique and impressively cloudy beer.

It was at that moment that the Widmer Brothers had created the first American-style Hefeweizen or Hefe, which is translated from German as ‘yeast wheat’. If you ever run into the Widmer Brothers, make sure you pronounce their beloved beer as they intended, “hey-fuh”.

1986 - SEASONAL PIONEERS

In a time when most microbreweries were trying to perfect their flagship beers, the Widmer Brothers had a unique idea to innovate the industry yet again. Kurt and Rob introduced a four-time rotating seasonal beer lineup, which was the first time a US brewery introduced “seasonals”. The first beer in the seasonal lineup was Festbier, an innovative ‘winter warmer’ beer brewed for the cold winter months.

1988 - OREGON BREWER’S FEST

The Widmer Brothers, along with Bridgeport Brewing Company and Portland Brewing Company, launched the very first Oregon Brewer’s Festival. This highly successful festival started to attract the attention of beer enthusiasts nationally. Today the Oregon Brewer’s Fest is attended by over 80 breweries and 70,000 people, always the last full weekend in July.

Forging Ahead

1990 - MOVING TO NORTH PORTLAND

Outgrowing their beloved first brewery, Kurt and Rob move the operation to its current location in North Portland, and rename the brewery Widmer Brothers Brewing Company.

1996 - FIRST BOTTLING

After becoming the largest draft-only brewery in the western hemisphere, the Widmer brothers take a step forward and begin bottling their beers for the first time.

1998 - COLLABORATOR PROJECT

Widmer Brothers and the homebrew club Oregon Brew Crew work together to create the Collaborator Project. The goal of the Collaborator series is to grow the community of home brewers in Oregon. Through this annual competition, different home brew recipes are chosen and produced in the innovation brewery at Widmer Brothers Brewery, giving homebrewers the chance to have their recipe brewed on a large scale. Spoiler alert: 20 years later 55 recipes from the Collaborator Project have been brewed with many winning national awards, including a gold medal at Great American Beer Festival.

Visit the Oregon Brew Crew http://www.oregonbrewcrew.org/ for more info.

2005 - BREWMASTERS

Always pushing the envelope with craft beer, the Widmer Brothers Brewery launches the “W Series” which showcases our brewmaster’s most innovative and off the wall recipes. Beer enthusiasts from across the country flock to the brewery with each new release.

Recently

2014 - WIDMER BROTHERS PUB REOPENING

Widmer Brothers celebrates its 30th year anniversary with the reopening of its newly remodeled Widmer Brothers Pub. The Widmer Brothers Pub is now an open seating destination focusing on the true craft beer experience. The new pub showcases 24 rotating tap lines and introduces “Thursday Tap Days” where patrons can try a new freshly tapped beer made from the innovative minds of our master brewers.

2015 - PORTLAND TIMBERS

Widmer Brothers Hefe becomes the Official Craft Beer of the Portland Timbers. Pints up Portland!

2016 – THE NEW INNOVATION BREWERY

The Widmer Brothers Brewery debuts a state of the art 10 barrel brewing system, creating a “brewery within a brewery”. The innovation pub focuses on innovative and new small batch and experimental releases. The rotating 24 taps allow for a constant flow of new beers, tastes and styles. The innovation brewery can be seen through windows inside the pub, so you can watch your small batch beer being brewed while you enjoy your pint

2017 - TODAY

Today, Hefeweizen is Oregon’s favorite craft beer and continues to win awards at national beer festivals. The Widmer Brothers Brewery cranks out new beers and innovate Oregon’s craft beer scene. Amazingly, Kurt and Rob Widmer are even more handsome and charming than they were in ’84. It must be all that beer! Prost!