Portland Brewing Company

Portland Brewing Company was a brewery in Portland, Oregon. A pioneer in Portland's early craft brewing scene, it was known as MacTarnahan's Brewing Company from 2004 to 2013 before resuming its original name. It was closed by owners the Costa Rican company Florida Ice & Farm Co. in early 2021.

Portland Brewing Company
IndustryAlcoholic beverage
HeadquartersPortland, Oregon
United States
OwnerFlorida Ice & Farm Co.


Portland Brewing Company was founded in 1986 by Fred Bowman, Art Larrance and Jim Goodwin; shareholder Robert Malcolm "Mac" MacTarnahan invested $25,000 and was a major backer of the company. In 1992 the brewery named a beer in his honor, MacTarnahan’s Amber Ale, which quickly became their flagship. MacTarnahan rescued the company from financial straits in 1998 by buying $3.5 million in debt in exchange for stock; as a result Portland Brewing began using MacTarnahan labeling.[1][2] Portland Brewing Company merged with Saxer Brewing Company of Lake Oswego in 2000.[3]

In 2004, MacTarnahan, then 88 years old, sold the company to Pyramid Breweries of Seattle.[1] The Portland Brewing facility was renamed MacTarnahan's Brewing Company, and continued its operation and product line. MacTarnahan died later that year.[4] In 2008 Pyramid itself was acquired by Magic Hat Brewing Company.[5] This was subsequently bought by North American Breweries of Rochester, New York in 2010[6] and by Costa Rican company Florida Ice & Farm Co. in 2012.[7] In 2013 the brewery announced it would return to the Portland Brewing Company name.[2]

On January 8th, 2021 Portland Brewing Company announced that the brewery would cease all operations.


Beers made by Portland Brewing have won many awards over the years, including gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival, gold, silver, and bronze medals at the World Beer Championships, and a silver medal at the world beer cup in 2016. Beers made by Portland Brewing include MacTarnahan's Amber Ale, Noble Scot Scottish style ale, and BlackWatch Cream Porter.

Governator AleEdit

Governator Ale
Governator Ale product label
ManufacturerPortland Brewing Co.
StyleExtra special bitter

Governator Ale was an American Extra special bitter made in 2004 to commemorate the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor of California. The product was discontinued shortly after its introduction in response to complaints from Schwarzenegger's attorneys.

Jerome Chicvara, then CEO of Portland Brewing Co., had the idea of producing beer as a "tribute" to Schwarzenegger, while joking with his children and their friends. The name 'Governator' is a popular[8] humorous portmanteau alluding to the seeming disparity between Schwarzenegger's former signature role as the violent robotic Terminator character in the film franchise of that name on the one hand, and politician on the other.[9] The CEO commented that unlike other novelty beers, it was designed as a quality product, not a "girl-man beer".[10]

The Oregon brewery obtained federal approval for its liquor label (a requirement in the United States), produced 3,200 cases of 22-ounce bottles, and began distributing the beer to stores in the California market.[9] The label, which identified the maker as the fictitious "Pumping Iron Brewing", was designed as a generic-looking male bodybuilder viewed from behind, without including Schwarzenegger's actual likeness. Nevertheless, Schwarzenegger's lawyers, who had been looking for unauthorized exploitation of what they considered the governor's right of publicity, objected and demanded that production cease.[11] In response, the brewery, which had recently been purchased by Pyramid Breweries, Inc., stopped making the beer in early 2004.[9]


  1. ^ a b Foyston, John (February 16, 2004). "MacTarnahan's of Portland Will Be Sold to Seattle's Pyramid". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Hearst Communications. Retrieved March 15, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b "MacTarnahan's Brewing formally announces it is switching back to Portland Brewing Co". beerpulse.com. January 22, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Portland and Saxer Brewing Co.'s Announce 'Strategic Combination' ". Modern Brewery Age. CBS Interactive. February 14, 2000. Retrieved March 15, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ " 'Mac' MacTarnahan dies at 89". Modern Brewery Age. CBS Interactive. November 1, 2004. Retrieved March 15, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Richman, Dan (April 28, 2008). "Pyramid Breweries Inc. Agrees to be Taken Over". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Hearst Communications. Retrieved March 15, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "MacTarnahan's Parent Sold to North American Breweries". Portland Business Journal. American City Business Journals. August 12, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Cerveceria Costa Rica to buy North American Breweries". Oct 26, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Brewery in Oregon, not California, develops 'Governator' beer". Associated Press. 2004-01-06.
  9. ^ a b c "Governator Ale terminated:Portland Brewing agrees to quit making 'tribute' to Schwarzenegger". realbeer.com. 2004-03-31.
  10. ^ "Brewer Crafts 'Governator' Beer". redorbit.com. 2004-01-06.
  11. ^ "Arnie ale meets strong arm of law". BBC News. 2004-03-30.

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