Cannon Beach Distillery owner, Mike Selberg, announced on June 24 that he has decided to sell or shut down the establishment within the next year. Selberg opened the distillery by himself seven years ago on July 1, 2012.
The tax structure on distilled spirits, implemented by the Oregon Legislature through the O.L.C.C., became a burden for Selberg. Oregon taxes on cigarettes, gasoline, and beer are all relatively low, but the state excise tax on spirits is among the highest, at $22.73 per gallon. The manufacturers are taxed a percentage of the retail price. Selberg find this “backwards.”
“It doesn’t make sense for a small business,” said Selberg.
Selberg doesn’t believe that the tax on spirits is a political issue but a specific problem about the percentage manufacturers like himself are taxed.
Selberg is currently fielding offers and is hopeful that the distillery will sell and remain the distillery it is under different ownership. He hopes to be able to put a deal together with a seller this fall but can’t confirm or deny that the distillery will be sold. He is disappointed and frustrated about selling the distillery and didn’t want it to end up this way.
Selberg is hopeful to open a distillery in Colorado eventually, but plans on taking some time off first and do some evaluating. His main goal right now is getting a sale for the Cannon Beach establishment.
The Cannon Beach Distillery remains open until the sale is organized. Four whiskeys will be released before the end of the year, among other projects. Production is being maintained for their summer tasting room sales, but all OLCC distribution will stop. Selberg is working on a final batch of Lost Buoy and Peters’ Family Gins this month, which have not been released in several years.