CATHLAMET, Wash. — River Mile 38 Brewing Co. is up for sale.
Three years ago, Drop Anchor Brewery opened on Third Street in Cathlamet with 12 investors. Less than a year after opening, the brewery faced a trademark lawsuit from California’s Anchor Brewing and changed its name to River Mile 38 Brewing.
The brewery is now owned by six partners, including Richard Erickson, Steve Sharp, Andy Lea, Rob Stockhouse and Barry Aiton in Cathlamet; and Danna Speer in Texas. Erickson, a managing partner in the brewery, said the owners, two in their 50s and the other four in their 60s and 70s, are looking for someone younger to take the brewery to the next level.
“We all have other jobs,” he said. “We opened this up to be like a little clubhouse.”
Erickson said the owners are selling the entire business and remaining lease with the Port of Cathlamet for $550,000. The port had built a 1,500-square-foot building for River Mile 38, which includes a 10-barrel brewing system and five 10-barrel fermenters producing about 400 barrels of beer a year.
“We have 14 beers on tap in our brewery,” Erickson said.
The brewery’s taproom opens two days a week in the winter and three in the summer, with five part-time employees. People want the brewery open longer, Erickson said, which means more work and beer production.
He said River Mile 38 distributes as far north as Redmond and Tacoma, Washington, and east to the Columbia River Gorge, with a new distribution agreement recently signed for Oregon.
“We’ll try to sell to locations along the Columbia River,” he said. “People want to drink local beer. Tourists come (and ask) ‘What’s local?’”
Erickson said the partners will hang on until the right person comes along to take over and keep growing.
“We’re in a little niche market, but it’s just been better than we ever dreamed,” he said. “We never imagined we’d have to work this hard.”