Buoy Beer rebounds. Starts canning again and opens a pop-up restaurant
Two weeks ago, Buoy Beer Company suffered extensive damage to one of the buildings that house the operation, as we reported here. Following the partial collapse of the building, the company quickly made plans to move forward. While it waits to learn the eventual fate of the building, Buoy Beer Company is working quickly to get operations back on track.
“After the last few years, I don’t think there’s much that our team can’t handle,” said Buoy Beer’s co-founder David Kroening. “I continue to be amazed by their determination and how quickly they’ve gotten beer production and a restaurant back up and running. To be canning beer one week after losing half of the production facility and opening a summer pub down on the Riverwalk this past weekend is pretty astounding.”
The damage to the building primarily impacted the company’s packaging facility. Buoy Beer Company got back to canning last week with the help of a two mobile canning companies: Cascadia Canning and Craft Canning + Bottling. The mobile canning lines are enabling Buoy Beer to continue canning its most popular beers, like Czech-style Pilsner and IPA. This provides a temporary solution while Buoy Beer develops a long-term plan for the brewery.
“We were planning for a big season of growth this summer following our recent expansion, so this has been a trying couple of weeks for us all,” said Kroening. “We’re focused on our customers and retailers, and keeping beer on the shelves.”
What about the Restaurant?
In addition to the brewery making this adjustment, the team at Buoy Beer’s restaurant is once again pivoting, as it did throughout the pandemic. The restaurant was also impacted because of the damage to the building.
“It’s heartbreaking to think about what this industry and our team have gone through since 2019,” said Kroening. “It’s been sort of a ‘one step forward, two steps back’ situation. The effects of the pandemic were tough, but we kept a lot of our core team on board and ready to rebound as things started to get back to normal. Then last fall when we were close to fully reopening, we had to close the kitchen, lay off more of our friends and coworkers, and rework what moving forward looked like again.”
Before the building collapsed, Buoy Beer had already begun to move forward, opening a small fish-n-chips kitchen in the Taproom and a separate food truck, dubbed Buoy Too, to serve additional small bites. While the food truck was nearby during the collapse, it was unharmed; however, the fish-n-chips kitchen was forced to close.
The team quickly banded together and decided to open a pop-up pub. They reached out to several locations in town that could offer temporary space and landed at the Astoria Food Hub, which is right down the street.
“When we walked into the newly remodeled Astoria Food Hub space, it was obvious this is where we needed to be,” said Kroening. “Partnering with such a community-minded entity is a natural fit for us and the future possibilities are endless. We’re lucky there was an open space for us, and we look forward to working with the rest of the new tenants as they begin to move in this year.”
The Astoria Food Hub was established in 2021 to “create a resilient, equitable regional food system.” The project focuses on sustainable North Coast food brands, products, and restaurants and aims to alleviate complications related to cold storage, value-added production space, and aggregation. The Astoria Food Hub team repurposed the Riverwalk’s historic Mason, Ehrman & Co. warehouse building, which was built in 1935. It will house a commercial kitchen, storage, distribution resources, restaurants, and retail shops.
Buoy’s pop-up pub opened at the Astoria Food Hub (1152 Marine Dr) last weekend. The Buoy Too food truck will also be there serving delicious rotating salads and small bites.