Long-Time Ashland Brewery to Close Its Doors After 26 Years
Another mainstay of the Rogue Valley hospitality industry has become a casualty of the combined difficulties of smoky summers and a global pandemic.
Standing Stone Brewing Company (SSBC) will be closing permanently.
The brew pub announced it will be halting operations at the close of normal business hours on Sunday, May 29th, 2022, with this specific date contingent on retaining sufficient staffing to serve guests.
The company was founded in 1996 by brothers Alex, Emile and Mark Amarotico with a vision to bring uniquely crafted brews and locally sourced menu items to the community. The historic Whittle Garage Building in downtown Ashland, built in 1925 and formerly operating as a glass and cabinet shop, was renovated into a full-service restaurant and brewery, and thus “Standing Stone Brewing Company” came into fruition.
Over the past more than two decades, SSBC achieved some remarkable accomplishments. It established One Mile Farm to raise its own grass-fed, grass-finished beef and lamb products over a span of 8 years. The company also raised thousands of dollars for local non-profit organizations through its Pints for a Purpose Program, and it developed an operating structure that embraced the use of solar energy, a responsible carbon footprint and a strong commitment to the welfare of employees. Perhaps most notably, SSBC raised $35,000 during its 2016 Oak Street Harvest Dinner for Rogue Valley Farm to School, and most recently, more than $6,000 for World Central Kitchen, providing meals to Ukrainian refugees.
As the years have passed, the challenges faced by the community and SSBC have evolved dramatically. Two years of intense smoke in 2018 and 2019 brought about significant declines in tourism throughout the Rogue Valley, negatively affecting local businesses. Coupled with the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic in early 2020, the company sought ways to maintain enough revenue to keep the doors open. In September 2020, the Almeda Fire then blazed through the local communities of Ashland, Talent and Phoenix over Labor Day Weekend, leaving an emotionally taxed community and a severe workforce housing shortage in its wake.
“All of these factors, combined with a frustrating job market and high cost of goods, created challenges that were nearly insurmountable for SSBC. In a determined effort to overcome these obstacles, our company did its best to refresh the brand and make necessary changes to increase profit margins, while also offering competitive wages. Fast forward to present day, and it simply comes down to a heavy-hearted decision by Standing Stone ownership to end a significantly memorable run on their own terms,” said General Manager Nechelle LaLonde.
In true Standing Stone spirit, SSBC will host a farewell celebration on their final day of operation, Sunday, May 29th with $3 pints, priced just as they were on the first day of opening back in 1997. They welcome all Standing Stone supporters who have enjoyed the brew pub over the years to join them, as this final chapter comes to a close, and the last pint is poured.