Interview by Patrick McEvoy, Bellingham Tap Trail Bottle Editor and owner of Elizabeth Station
Fremont Brewing is one of WA’s rising stars, and are imminently expanding. I chatted with owner Matt Lincecum about all things Fremont Brewing.
PM: So, you guys are expanding, right?
ML: WE CAN NEITHER CONFIRM NOR DENY THAT ASSERTION.
PM: Hahaha. What are the plans?
ML: WHAT PLANS? WHO TOLD YOU? SERIOUSLY, WORLD DOMINATION AND THEN WE WILL FORCE A HOSTILE TAKEOVER OF AB-INBEV AND STOP THE MADNESS OF CHEAP BEER.
PM: Where is the new brewery?
ML: ONE BLOCK OUTSIDE OF FREMONT IN THE BALLARD NEIGHBORHOOD ALTHOUGH WE PREFER TO THINK THAT WE ARE EXPANDING FREMONT’S BOUNDARY BY ONE BLOCK.
PM: How big is the new brewery, or, how big are you now and how big will you be after the expansion?
ML: BIG. REAL BIG. NO, SERIOUSLY FOR REAL BIG. WITH TWO ‘G’S’…LIKE BIGG! WE SOLD 18,000 BBLS IN 2014, WE EXPECT TO SELL 25,000 BBLS IN 2015 AND WILL MAX OUT OUR CURRENT 35 BBL BREWERY AT THAT SIZE. OUR NEW PRODUCTION FACILITY WILL BE AN 80 BBL BREWERY MADE BY THE GERMAN COMPANY HUPPMAN AND WILL MAX OUT AT 200,000 BBLS/YEAR. SO, THIS WILL BE THE 2ND LARGEST BREWERY IN THE STATE (BY WAY OF CAPACITY).
PM: Will the new brewery have its own brewpub, or are you sticking with the current one?
ML: WE RUN AN URBAN BEER GARDEN, NOT A BREWPUB (NO FOOD, DUDE) AND WE HAVE NO CURRENT PLANS TO OPEN A NEW TASTING ROOM AT THE PRODUCTION FACILITY. THE URBAN BEER GARDEN IS DOING QUITE WELL AND WE INTEND TO FOCUS ON MAINTAINING THAT EXPERIENCE FOR OUR CUSTOMERS.
PM:What beers do you guys have planned for 2015? Anything new?
ML: WELL, WE’VE ALREADY THE 125TH ANNIVERSARY BARTELL’S BEER, OUR PILSNER, AND GOSE AND WE HAVE THE SEA TO SKI BEER, AND TWO COLLABORATIONS WITH PERENNIAL ARTISAN ALES AND BREAKSIDE. WITH OUR FRIENDS AT PERENNIAL, WE WILL BREW A BEER FOR RELEASE DURING SEATTLE BEER WEEK AND ONE FOR RELEASE SOMETIME IN THE FUTURE AFTER THE BARRELS RELEASE THEIR MAGIC. WITH THE MAGICIANS AT BREAKSIDE, WE WILL ALSO RELEASE A BEER DURING SEATTLE BEER WEEK AND ANOTHER ONE DURING PORTLAND BEER WEEK. WE ARE ALSO BREWING A FUN, SURPRISE BEER WITH OUR COLORADO BROTHERS AND SISTERS AT CROOKED STAVE AND WELL, LET’S LEAVE THE REST AS A SURPRISE. ANOTHER BUSY YEAR FOR US AND WE ARE ETERNALLY GRATEFUL FOR THAT.
PM: OK, besides Fremont of course, what other WA brewery are you looking at thinking “they are doing fun stuff”? Or, in other words, if you couldn’t drink Fremont for some reason, whose beers would you be drinking?
ML: PERENNIAL ARTISAN ALES, CROOKED STAVE, BREAKSIDE, MODERN TIMES, ODELLS, BALEBREAKER, CIGAR CITY, DOUBLE MOUNTAIN, NAKED CITY, CHUCKANUT, THE BRUERY, ALLAGASH, HALF ACRE. I COULD GO ON BUT THESE ARE SOME OF THE STAND OUTS FOR ME…OH, IM EXCITED FOR CLOUDBURST BREWING.
PM: Chuckanut’s the best, you can you just forget all the others… Like Chuckanut, a lot of us have watched you guys grow up and are very proud, by association, of the national attention you guys receive.
ML: THANK YOU. I WOULD NEVER DREAMED OF OUR WARM RECEPTION 5 YEARS AGO AND CONTINUE TO BE HUMBLED EVERY DAY.
PM: Where would you like to see Fremont, long term?
ML: WE DEFINITELY WANT TO STAY IN FREMONT, HERE ON EARTH, BECAUSE WE ARE EARTH-FOCUSED PEOPLE.
PM: That’s important. Seriously, do you guys look out that far?
ML: WE DO. IN A NUTSHELL, WE WANT TO CONTINUE TO PUSH OUR OWN BOUNDARIES WITH OUR BEER, OUR WORK WITH OUR HOP AND BARLEY FARMERS IN YAKIMA AND THE SKAGIT VALLEY, OUR COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP BOTH NATIONALLY AND LOCALLY AND INTERNALLY AS WE SEEK TO BUILD ON THE SUCCESS WE HAVE HAD AND DEVELOP AN EVEN BETTER WORKPLACE.
PM: Anything else we should know or get excited about?
ML: GLOBAL WARMING IS NOT A LIBERAL CONSPIRACY, ANOTHER BUSH RUNNING FOR OFFICE? REALLY? REALLY?, LOOK TO IDAHO AS THE NEXT FRONTIER IN BNIG HOP FARMS, STAY TUNED FOR OUR EXCLUSIVE SKAGIT VALLEY BARLEY BEERS USING HERITAGE GRAINS, KNOW YOUR SHIT FROM YOUR SHIN-OLA AND IF IT ITCHES, GO TO THE DOCTOR AND GET THE SHOT….AND WE ARE EXPANDING OUR BARREL PROGRAM EVEN MORE THIS YEAR TO INCLUDE A NEW BEER OR TWO….CAUSE THE PARTY NEVER ENDS AND TOMORROW IS JUST TODAY WAITING TO HAPPEN.