Founders: Mike and Brian McMenamin
Brewers: Ron Wolf (first hired brewer); dozens of others throughout the years to operate their 25 brewing facilities
Locations: 430 N Killingsworth St., Portland, OR 97217 (Head Quarters); many locations in the Pacific Northwest.
Specialties: Ruby (raspberry ale) and Hammerhead (Northwest pale ale)
- The namesake barley mill, that can still be found at McMenamins' first location, was used by Chuck Coury at Cartwright Brewing Co., Portland’s first post-Prohibition brewery. It was originally a kitty litter grinder.
- The McMenamins brewed their first several batches of beer with old Tillamook dairy equipment.
- One of McMenamins’ most extensive properties, the Edgefield Brewery, is located on 74 acres that used to house the Multnomah County Poor Farm.
The McMenamins brothers’ Northwest gastronomical empire began with humble, yet creative, roots. In 1974, Mike McMenamin and several other investors bought landmark Portland cafe Produce Row. Capitalizing on a growing local appreciation for beer, the group converted the building into a cozy pub. Mike recalls selling more than 100 beers of all origins and flavors available--a trend that has continued throughout much of the location’s history. Younger brother Brian joined the operation when he turned 21, and in 1983, the duo decided to turn over the reins and venture out on their own.
Since 1983, the McMenamins brothers have been purchasing historic properties across Oregon and Washington, restoring their natural beauty, and infusing them with a character that can only be described as whimsical and so very McMenamins. To do this, the brothers employ a team of historians and artists who work together to protect and revitalize the character of all McMenamins destinations, maintaining that “the only rule is there are no rules. The main thing is to have fun!” Now operating more than 50 properties, McMenamins employs over 2,000 people and encompasses a wide variety of locations, including hotels, movie theaters, and restaurants.
The brothers have enjoyed creating unique brews, but perhaps their largest contribution to “Beervana” had little to do with their own concoctions. Many regional brewing legends laud the McMenamins for their active efforts to carry and distribute a large number of local beers, particularly at the outset of the craft brew movement. Writer Pete Dunlop claims that their drive to operate “an abundance of pubs and a willingness to pour beers produced by other brewers was their significant contribution to the craft beer revolution.”