Recession Blues: Widmer Down, Others Up

Via the Oregon Econ blog, we have some mixed news about craft breweries and the recession. For Widmer, a dark cloud hovers over the bouyant anniversary celebration:
Less than six months after Woodinville, Wash.-based Redhook Ale Brewery Inc.’s merger with Portland’s Widmer Brothers Brewing Co., the new company has written down the value of the Widmer brand by more than a third.

Last week, the company that resulted from the merger, Portland-based Craft Brewers Alliance, released its 2008 annual report. For the year, the company lost $33.3 million on $86 million in revenue.

The loss included a $30.6 million impairment for Widmer assets acquired in the merger. Of the $30.6 million, $6.5 million is a write-down of the value of the Widmer brand, which the company valued at $16.3 million when the merger closed July 1.

The swiftness with which Craft Brewers restated the value of Widmer surprised analysts.

The whole article isn't available to non-subscribers, but Patrick posts this paragraph--hopeful signs for other breweries trying to weather the economic storm:
December and January shipments for all Oregon craft brewers fell by 5 percent and 7 percent, respectively. But in January and February, shipments for all beer in Oregon actually rose by 10 and 20 percent, respectively. “It would appear trading down from higher-priced, locally-made beer has already begun in earnest,” said Brian Butenschoen, executive director of the Oregon Brewers Guild.
I guess it's not surprising that a recession would produce winners and losers. Let's just hope there are no real "losers" and that everyone makes it through in the end.