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Regional Interests

Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve beer is no more, parent company says

It’s last call for one of Portland’s favorite beers, Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve.

Weinhard started making beer in Portland in 1856, when the city itself was just five years old. Now the beer named after him, and brewed locally since 1976, has been discontinued by parent company Molson Coors.

Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley announced the company will be discontinuing the beer, along with 10 other economy brands, as it shifts it focus to premium brands and newer offerings like hard seltzers. He made the announcement in the company’s second-quarter earning report.

”After an extensive analysis of our business, we are meaningfully streamlining and premiumizing our U.S. portfolio ... including the elimination of 11 economy brands altogether,” he said.

”The headline is simple,” he continued. “Premiumization is here to stay at Molson Coors. We’re going to invest bigger behind our fast-growing global hard seltzer portfolio.”

Tiah Edmunson-Morton, with the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives at Oregon State University, said it’s no surprise that the company is taking that approach.

”The beer market is a noisy one,” she said, “and they have decided to shift their portfolio for new offerings like hard ciders or their own premium brands.”

She said it’s been a tough few years for longstanding local breweries like Bridgeport, Widmer and Portland Brewing.

And now Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve, the beer that paved the way for Portland to become “Brewvana,” has been phased out. But, she said, Oregon is a state of creative beer makers, and for every closure there will likely be an exciting local opening in the industry.

Here’s the full list of brands that Molson Coors is dropping.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting