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SWFE 2017


Peddler Brewing Company

Peddlers of beer and bikes

If you talk with people in the craft brewing industry, they'll tell you that beer is a friendly thing. It brings people together. Peddler Brewing Company fits that description: Haley and Dave Keller imagined a place reminiscent of their living room or garage where people could hang out, socialize, and enjoy good beer. It worked.

Peddler crew: Haley, Dave, Mike

"Whether it's a detriment or benefit, when you're self-funding, you don't have to have a detailed plan," laughs Haley. "We had a vision and we knew that most of it was an unknown. It's gone well. We're at a place where we employ people. When you open, you expect that your friends and family will come in and support your dream. But I remember one night in our first year, turning off the lights at the end of the evening and saying to Dave, 'I didn't know anyone who was here tonight.' That was a great feeling. People we didn't know were coming in and enjoying the space and beer."

While dating, Dave was bicycling around town and to Haley's place. As she became more interested in bicycling, they'd go on riding dates to bars, restaurants, coffee shops. "I realized how easy it was to get around on a bike. And when you're ready to leave, your bike is right outside. No waiting." Love of biking informed their decisions about their brewery and tasting room: the name, the logo, the space itself. "We wanted to create a space where we would have enjoyed going on our bikes. The space needed to be comfortable, yet people didn't have to worry about ruining it with water and dirt on a rainy night. The bike theme just took off. The counter has bike parts set in the concrete, there are bike parts hanging on the wall, and we have a bike mosaic made with my childhood penny collection."

 

When they opened in March 2013, they had a 7-barrel system, with a 6-barrel output. Within a year-and-a-half, they had doubled their system. "Now we have a 15-barrel system and six fermenters, with a seventh coming soon. Dave home brewed and, at the time, he and I had different tastes, so we've ended up doing a variety of styles, and opened with a number of recipes. Our list leans toward IPAs, but we've also done crazy, funky beers, like our sour with kombucha. We've done different styles of sours, but mostly in bottles. They take much longer to age, from 6-12 months. We started with a Kölsch, an IPA, an ESB, Tangerine Hefeweizen, and a winter beer. We've kept these styles all along, although we just switched out the ESB. About a third of our list is available year 'round; the rest rotate. Along with the sours, we've done coffee, Belgians, Stout, Cream Ale, Brown, and pumpkin beer in the fall."

Peddler beer can be found in mostly smaller grocery stores, and bars and restaurants (see the list on their website). They are also in Total Wine and Whole Foods. "We aren't in larger companies because we self-distribute. Dave's younger brother Mike sells and delivers the beer." For three years, they've offered four different beers in 22 ounce bottles, and in 2016 they started selling two beers in 6-pack bottles. "Wholesale is our growth area. The tasting room is seasonal; we're much busier in the summer. We feel the best way to grow sustainably is to sell to stores and bars around town."

There are several food options, none of which are made on site. "We are not good cooks, and never wanted a kitchen at the tasting room! We offer a small amount of pre-made food, and people can order in delivery. We used to have a couple who would bring in friends and all kinds of snacks from Trader Joe's." When they opened their beer garden in May of 2015, it allowed space for a food truck. Wednesday-Sunday they have a different food truck each night (each truck comes the same night each week). "The trucks allow variety. Plus, they're small businesses like us and we like to give them the opportunity. The beer garden had a huge impact on our business. It can hold over 400 people. We do outdoor movies, pun slam competitions, private events. We had our wedding reception here in 2015."

In keeping with their bike theme, they reached out to the bike community in the beginning and offered to host fundraisers, donate beer to events, and got involved in bike issues. "The bike community really embraced us. And I've gotten much more involved: I'm on the Board of Directors of Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes. Mike has started racing bikes and joined a team that we now sponsor."

Haley got her undergrad degree in math and her Master's from Seattle University in teaching, then taught high school math at her alma mater Lake Washington High School for four years. About four months after opening Peddler, she quit teaching. "I loved it, but it was just too much to do both." Dave grew up in Ohio and got his engineering degree from Ohio State University. He got a job at Boeing right out of college, staying seven years. "Dave kept his job until October or November 2013. At first it worked because we were only open Friday and Saturday. He would brew evenings or Sundays. Once we opened on more evenings, he had to have time to brew."

While math and engineering don't seem obvious lead-ins to a microbrewery, Dave and Haley have created a spot that draws people together. "It's more than just a place for a good beer. Friends are made here. Parents can bring their kids in, and dogs are welcome. We even have dog bandanas and a #DogsOfPeddler monthly Instagram contest." Next time you have a hankering for a beer, you know where to go.

 

Peddler Brewing Company
1514 NW Leary Way
Seattle, WA 98107


360-362-0002

www.peddlerbrewing.com

 

 

 

 

Connie Adams/February 2017


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