Migration Brewing meanders to Gresham
All things being equal, Migration Brewing co-owner Colin Rath would offer up a stylish Migration brewpub right in the middle of downtown Gresham's village-y business district.
However, in the world of microbrewing — where giant tanks, heavy duty equipment and room to expand upward are essential to a growing operation — all things are rarely equal.
That's why the new Gresham iteration of Northeast Portland-based Migration Brewing is located in an industrial district off 181st Avenue near Interstate 84, at 18188 N.E. Wilkes Road.
"We kept batting around how to have our cake and eat it too," said Rath, Migration's co owner, regarding the location choice. "But to have a production facility in a shopping district, there's not a lot of 20,000-square-foot buildings to be found. We wanted the ability to grow. This space allows us to grow in all fronts. The tanks can go higher and wider — a lot of options."
The expansive, high-ceilinged brewery and pub quietly opened in early June, and will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, July 14. The all-day event beginning at 11 a.m. will feature brewery tours, the release of Migration beer six-packs, the restaurant's full menu plus the possibility of speciality items along with other fanfare. Brewvana, a Portland bus service that provides tours of area breweries, will shuttle patrons between the new facility and Migration's original location at 2828 N.E. Glisan St., which opened in early 2010.
"It should be something fun for Gresham patrons as well as (those in) Portland," Rath said. "With the brewery tours, they can see the full scale of operations ... It will be a great time to come in."
Gresham's first large-scale beer-producing facility includes a full-service restaurant offering lunch and dinner, an outdoor patio and 15 beers and ciders on tap.
Rath is confident the location, layout and amenities will create a vibrant addition to East Multnomah County's dining and beverage scene.
"Three-thousand square feet of our space is dedicated to the front-of-the-house restaurant," he noted. "It's visible from the (I-84) freeway, off exit 13, which is awesome because there are exits from different directions. There's so much industry over here. We want to keep working on meeting them, tapping into the community and seeing how we can support them."
When the expansion concept hatched a couple of years ago, Rath and co-owner Eric Banzer-Lausberg commenced an extensive search for appropriate sites all around the Portland metro area. Late last year, they found what they were looking for in the northwest corner of Gresham, and renovations on the structure started early this year.
"There was something about Gresham that really felt right to us," Rath said.
Migration's migration into Gresham coincides with a distribution deal with Columbia Distributing, which will spread offerings like Exit 13 pale ale, Straight Outta Portland IPA, Outlaw Josey red ale and other craft styles farther and wider in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
"This partnership with Columbia has been a big boost to us," Rath said. "We were self-distributing for our first seven years. It's been nice and given us the confidence to grow and start producing more beer. Now it takes a small army to produce our beer as opposed to a one-and-a-half-man team."
Previously, Eric Banzer-Lausberg, Migration co-owner and head of distribution, carried the sole burden of selling the product through the region and making sure it got where it was going.
"The (partnership with Columbia) is a change in the fact that the beer can go farther and more people can experience our beer," Rath said. "It's relieved a lot of pressure for Eric, so now he can focus on (developing) relationships."
Rath anticipates the event on Saturday will help get that ball rolling.
"The grand opening should be a good time," he said. "We look forward to seeing a lot of new faces."