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Widmer Brothers Brewery

Widmer Brothers Brewery
25th Anniversary

Widmer Brothers History
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company is a Portland, Oregon-based "craft brewer" that produces several distinctive varieties of beer. The firm's brews include top seller Hefeweizen, an unfiltered wheat beer; black raspberry-flavored Widberry; Drop Top Amber; Blonde Ale; seasonal varieties like Okto and Snowplow Milk Stout; and others that are brewed for sale on draft only. Hefeweizen is available in most American states, and the rest are found primarily on the West Coast. The firm is run by brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer, who sold a minority stake to Anheuser-Busch in 1997 to gain access to the industry leader's distribution network.
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company was founded in 1984 in Portland, Oregon by Kurt and Rob Widmer. Older brother Kurt had come to appreciate a wide variety of beer while living in Germany in the 1970s, and had begun making his own beer when he returned to the United States. He used a traditional strain of yeast obtained from the Brewing Research Institute in Weihenstephan, Bavaria, and later returned to Germany to fine-tune his craft at a brewery in Dusseldorf. By the early 1980s he had developed a recipe for beer that produced consistently good results.
In 1984 the Widmer brothers decided to found a brewery, and raised more than $50,000 from family members and an outside investor. With their father Raymond, they assembled a small brewery out of used dairy and restaurant equipment, and by fall had begun running test batches. The first Widmer offering, Altbier (German for "old beer"), was offered for sale in early 1985, and the richly flavored brew was soon joined by a lighter variety, Weizen, which used wheat as an ingredient. Unlike German wheat beers, which had a slight flavor of bananas and cloves, the Widmers' recipe produced a less noticeable aftertaste.

1984: Kurt and Rob Widmer found Widmer Brothers Brewing Company.
1986: Hefeweizen unfiltered wheat beer debuts.
1990: The firm opens a new brewery/headquarters facility.
1996: A second brewery and bottling plant is added across the street.
1997: Anheuser-Busch buys a 27 percent stake in the firm for $18 million.
2003: The company begins brewing Hefeweizen at the New Hampshire Redhook plant.
2004: Widmer and Redhook form the Craft Brands Alliance to handle West Coast sales.


Belgian Wit
Blonde Ale
Broken Halo IPA
Drop Top Amber
Hop Jack Pale Ale
KGB Imperial Stout
Noggin Grog Imperial Wit
Saison Christophe
Sled Crasher
Snowplow Milk Stout
Spring Run IPA
Tripel Threat
W'08 Crimson Wheat
Widmer Hefeweizen


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