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Brewery building’s future unclear one year later

ASTORIA, Ore. — A year after a portion of Buoy Beer Co.’s waterfront facility collapsed over the Columbia River, the fate of the building remains in limbo.

Buoy has no permits in front of city building officials for the structure located between Seventh and Eighth streets.

“We’re waiting to hear from the property owners about what their next steps are for how they want to bring that property back to being active and useable,” said city spokesman Ryan Quigley.

Representatives for Buoy said they are waiting on permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine what comes next.

“But the future of the building is very near and dear to all of our hearts,” said Jessyka Dart-Mclean, marketing manager. “So, you know, we always have hope.”

The building had housed a small batch brewery, a variety of tanks and a canning line as well as a restaurant, though Buoy had closed the kitchen in 2021. Staff said last year that structural issues with the building had been known and the area closed off to employees and the public.

Last June, pilings under the building gave way, sending debris into the river, including a large number of cans that boaters later saw bobbing with the current. No one was in the building at the time and no injuries were reported.

Now, Buoy has brought production back in-house with brewing operations spread out between buildings across from the original facility — a big milestone, says Matt Jones, head brewer.

Following the collapse of the original building, Buoy set up contract brewing with Ninkasi out of Eugene and Sin Marca Beverage. Now, Buoy’s canning line is back in operation with signature beers being packaged this month for the first time since the collapse.

Buoy’s restaurant shifted to a location in the Astoria Food Hub off Marine Drive and will continue there for the time being. Dart-Mclean said customer volume has steadily increased at the location and Buoy is hiring for the summer. The brewery did not lay any staff off because of the collapse and is also looking to hire, Jones said.

Overall, said Dart-Mclean, the last year has been incredibly hard. But she added that it was encouraging to see how people came together and the support Buoy received from the brewing industry.

Jones agreed.

“The collapse did a lot to bring the production staff kind of closer together, as well as kind of all departments around the brewery,” he said.

“So if there was a silver lining, it was definitely in that. I don’t think anything could have brought everyone together and gotten everyone working more closely together than what happened, as unfortunate and tragic as it was.”