Modern Times Beer to close Oakland taproom, 3 other locations – SFGate

On Monday, San Diego-based brewery Modern Times Beer abruptly announced the closure of half of its locations. At the end of this week, taprooms in Oakland, Portland, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles will shutter. 

“It is a surreal and painful turn of events for us, and we realize that the suddenness of it puts many people we care about in very difficult positions,” read a blog post on the Modern Times site. “We truly wish that there were another way to resolve the financial issues we now face, but we have been put in a position—by the pandemic and global declines in the craft beer industry—from which this tremendously difficult path is the only way forward for us.”

Modern Times cited four years of expensive, rapid expansion followed by the devastating economic impact of the pandemic as the reasons behind the closures. SFGATE reached out to Modern Times for comment but did not hear back at time of publication.

The brewery opened its Oakland taproom at 2410 Valdez St. in December 2019 in a vibrantly decorated space described as a “psychedelic color party” in shades of pink, teal and orange by Modern Times’ director of arts and crafts, Amy Krone. But just a few months later, the still-new location was temporarily shut down by the pandemic. 

Modern Times' Oakland location will close this week along with three more of the brewery's taprooms, the brewery said.

Modern Times’ Oakland location will close this week along with three more of the brewery’s taprooms, the brewery said.

Alyssa Pereira / SFGATE

By the following summer, a partnership with neighboring restaurant alaMar Kitchen & Bar allowed the taproom to reopen for outdoor dining and drinking. But a year later, in May 2021, Modern Times made headlines for another reason: The brewery was named in an outpouring of misogyny allegations rocking the beer industry. Following dozens of accusations of harassment, employees at the Oakland taproom announced they would not be working until “company leadership acts in a way that aligns with our personal values of inclusion and equality, and that appropriate actions and measures are put in place to prevent further discrimination and harassment.” 

Soon after, Modern Times founder and CEO Jacob McKean announced his resignation. In January 2022, a new CEO stepped in: Jennifer Briggs, formerly of New Belgium Brewing.

“As new leadership has stepped up and taken the helm over the last few weeks, it became clear that the financial state of the company that we are now tasked with directing is not just unsustainable, but in immediate and unavoidable peril,” continued the Modern Times blog post. “As a result of this, we are forced to make some incredibly hard choices, which—while necessary for the health and continued success of our company—will result in many of our talented, hardworking staff losing their jobs.”

Modern Times’ Point Loma, North Park, Encinitas and Anaheim locations remain open. The Oakland taproom’s last day is slated to be Friday, and its last trivia night will be Tuesday, according to its Instagram.

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