By Jayati Ramakrishnan

The Oregonian

A Northeast Portland cidery expects to close Nov. 10 after six years of operation.

Cider Riot has been open since 2013 and has earned international awards for its ciders. It has also been a popular hangout for left-wing activists and was the site of a brawl between left and right-wing activists on May Day this year. Following that brawl, owner Abram Goldman-Armstrong sued several members of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, including its leader Joey Gibson. Six members and affiliates of Patriot Prayer now face felony riot charges related to the incident.

Goldman-Armstrong said the recent publicity from clashes with Patriot Prayer is not to blame for the pub’s impending closure. But he said the interactions with Patriot Prayer have affected business.

“People are afraid to come in,” he said. “Some people think it’s a safety concern.”

He said his legal case against Patriot Prayer members is still ongoing.

“We’re still getting online harassment, lots of really homophobic, anti-Semitic and racist comments,” he said. “These people need to be brought to justice.”

Goldman-Armstrong said the pub had been more successful than in previous years, after it added food to the menu. But he said the pub was only a small portion of the business.

“Our business is making cider,” he said. And many in the beer and cider industries have faced challenges in the last few years.

“It doesn’t help, the tidal wave of White Claw that’s destroyed our industry here,” he said. “That’s an even bigger bite out of cider than out of beer.”

Goldman-Armstrong said in September that the business has struggled in recent years after a costly expansion in 2016, and cider sales below what he and his investors had projected left them with little choice but to sell.

But Goldman-Armstrong said he has been in talks with regional craft brewers in hopes of keeping the brand alive.

“Even if we have to shut down the pub, my hope is that we’ll still have Cider Riot available in pubs, on shelves and in local grocery stores,” he said.

24364833