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Pandemic leads to closure of Deschutes Brewery Tasting Room

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 11:45 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The Roanoke tasting room of the Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery will close its only East Coast operation at the end of 2021. Deschutes has been a part of the Roanoke community since August 2017.

“After four years of operating our Roanoke, Virginia Tasting Room, we have made the tough decision not to renew our lease and will cease operations at the end of the year,” said President and CEO, Michael LaLonde.

Deschutes Brewery had high hopes of a much bigger operation for the tasting room, including brewing beer, a restaurant and potentially a distribution center. Leaders say the pandemic played a major role and has hit all their locations hard, but Roanoke’s location the hardest.

“It’s true across all of our food and beverage outlets but it was disproportionately higher at the Roanoke location,” said Chief Financial Officer Peter Skrbek.

He said at its peak, around 2% of all their business was coming from Virginia. Deschutes does plan to help the eight employees impacted by the closing with their next steps, whether that be in-company or out.

Wednesday night, the community continued to enjoy what the taproom had to offer, but many are sad to see it go.

“Deschutes has been a gathering point for the downtown working community since it opened four years ago, it will be very sorely missed by all of us,” said Robert Humphreys, who works at Total Action for Progress.

Deschutes said they will continue to be involved in the Roanoke community and the Tap Room will continue to operate as normal until the end of the year.

You can find another statement from LaLonde below:

As we prepare for closing, we plan to honor company commitments, treat all employees equitably and step forward with care and attention on how this impacts the Roanoke community and our dedicated co-owners who have managed this location over the past four + years. We are working with each team member on opportunities to continue with Deschutes in a new capacity.

Since we opened the Roanoke Tasting Room in August 2017, the community has graciously allowed us to share the Deschutes Brewery 33-year-old craft beer legacy, values, and innovative spirit with our sister city. During this time, we have raised over $300,000 in support of area non-profits through events like the Deschutes Street Pub and Community Pints, and provided jobs while increasing the tourism. Going forward, Roanoke will remain a very valued and special part of Deschutes Brewery as we continue to invest in the community through our partnership with Blue Ridge Beverage and community events.

For more information on Deschutes, you can head to its website here and Facebook here.

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