Hood River Brewery Taps Into Emergency Water Supply After Boil Water Advisory

By Donald Orr (OPB)
Portland, Ore. Jan. 22, 2020 3 p.m.

The City of Hood River issued a 48-hour boil water advisory on Monday after a water main leak affected residents and businesses in the downtown area. Residents were asked to boil their water before drinking it, and a handful of restaurants had to close after Hood River County Environmental Health requested that establishments not use city water.

But thanks to some emergency planning, at least one establishment that relies heavily on the water was able to continue business as usual. Consumers who enjoy craft beer from Double Mountain Brewery can still enjoy a drink in their taproom without any problems.


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Matt Swihart, brewmaster and owner of Double Mountain Brewery, said it all came down to being prepared.

“My wife suggested that I start telling people it was her idea to have a backup water supply — she’s a big emergency planner,” Swihart said.

“What we ended up doing is kegging off several thousand gallons of water to use in an emergency.”


Swihart said the brewery came up with a series of plans with the county and the health department after local utility company Pacific Power had an emergency power shutdown plan put into place last summer.

After working with Hood River County and the health department, Double Mountain came up with a series of plans in the case of different emergencies such as a fire, power loss or water loss.

Along with brewing beer, the backup water supply allows customers to have safe water to drink and wash their hands and for cooks to prepare food.

Swihart said the brewery had enough emergency water to last for three or four days — they’ll be able to replenish that supply by boiling 600 gallons of water in a giant kettle typically used for brewing beer.

“We expect the boil alert to be lifted, perhaps by [Wednesday]. But if not, we’ll start making more water.”

While Double Mountain’s brewery and taproom are able to remain open, many of Hood River’s residents are still affected.

According to the city’s website, there is no evidence of harmful bacteria in the water system. The city said it will receive water sample results midday Wednesday. The advisory is still in effect as of publishing time.

The city is requesting that anyone who experienced a loss of water pressure or discovered an excessive amount of air in water lines to follow the advisory. Residents should bring water to a rolling boil for one minute before drinking it or using it to brush teeth, wash fruits and vegetables, or for making ice or preparing baby formula. The city also advises against wiping down counters with water that hasn’t been boiled.

The city’s public works office was unavailable for comment on the emergency advisory.