Astoria Brewery Returns Town to Its Canning Roots—But This Time It Is Beer

With the help of $150,000 forgivable loan from the Governor's Strategic Reserve Fund, the Ft. George Brewery installed and opened a bigger brewhouse and a new canning line in April 2011, for its fast-growing microbrewery and pub in downtown Astoria. Fort George opened its doors four years ago with six employees. Today, the company has 28 employees.

The company purchased the Ft. George Block in downtown Astoria in October 2009 with the help of a Small Business Administration loan. But they needed some more financial partners to make improvements and install the new equipment to increase their brewing capacity and produce their first cans of microbrew. The city of Astoria came through with a grant and a loan and the SBA also extended more financing. Craft3, a non-profit community development financial institution, also contributed financing to the deal. The $150,000 SRF was the final piece in the financing puzzle that allowed the company to start canning its beer in the summer of 2010.

In addition to increasing its brewing capacity by 6,000 barrels a year, the company feels that cans are a more environmentally sustainable package for their tasty products. After the new brewhouse, canning line and cold storage are in place, future development plans call for an open air beer garden, outdoor seating and a multi-level deck at the pub, a barrel-aging room and an event space.