Jesse Nelson, CEO of Overflow Taps

Jesse Nelson of Overflow Taps, a craft beer bar in Lynden, WA is surrounded by strong community, a dynamic team and is driven by an inspired mission that’s about more than just beer. Overflow Taps will be celebrating its 1 year anniversary this Saturday, February 11th and its mission is propelling them forward with even bigger goals for 2017.

Jesse has owned a few businesses over the years and was also enlisted in the US Navy before heading into the IT sector. But owning a business never truly filled his personal pint glass

I’ve owned a few businesses now. There was always a hole in my heart and I never knew why. With Overflow, the hole is completely gone.

Overflow Taps taproom

Nelson wanted to fill that pint. He found a passion for wine that graduated to craft beer. But after watching a video by charity:water about the global water crisis, and listening to his business partner Adam Stacey talk about his passion for starting a tap house, he decided that a combination of craft beer and fresh water was a fantastic way to fill his personal pint and give to others. There are 663 million people in the world that don’t have access to clean water. Originally, Overflow’s concept was to change up the charity organization every year. But after getting to know more about charity:water and its CEO, they decided to make fresh water their sole purpose. And it’s working.

Overflow Taps is in full forward momentum. $0.25 of every pint sold at Overflow is given to charity:water, a nonprofit that gives 100% of its proceeds to getting fresh water to those that need it. In one year since they opened their doors they have funded a project that will provide fresh water to 350 people in Malawi, Africa. Jesse likes to note, that Overflow didn’t raise that money. He says everyone that came in raised it, by simply drinking a beer. They are taking that momentum and doubling down on their mission in a few new ways for 2017.

Chad Kuehl of Wander Brewing (l) and Jack Lamb of Aslan Brewing (r)

First, they have developed a new program called “Charity Pints.” They are teaming up with breweries around Bellingham to raise more awareness for the global water crisis. The program invites breweries to donate $0.05 for every one of their pints sold at Overflow. Aslan Brewing, Wander Brewing and Atwood Ales are the first three they’re partnering with. They plan to open it up to others in the near future. The new program opens up their mission to the surrounding community and expands the potential money raised. That extra $0.05 may not seem like a lot, but it moves the amount of money raised, per pint, by 20% to $0.30 per pint. He hopes the new program picks up steam and other breweries will want to jump on board.

They will have an opportunity to get more breweries involved with the second prong of their strategy. They are looking to open up a second location in Bellingham.

The location we choose will be very strategic in that we want to lease from a landlord who we feel connected with. Our model is ultimately about hearts. When landlord and tenant hearts align, it opens the door for creativity. We truly believe some great things will happen in Bellingham.

Adam Stacey, Overflow Taps COO

Two locations. One business raising money, pint by pint, to bring water to those that need it. Nelson teamed up with his business partners Adam Stacey and Josh Libolt to start Overflow Taps. He says that Overflow Taps wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Stacey and their discussions over pints and darts at the Copper Hog.

Stacey is the Co-Owner, COO, CFO and “just about everything else”, according to Nelson. Jesse says he learned something very important from Aslan CEO Jack Lamb a while back that was instrumental to him developing a positive and effective business structure.

Jack Lamb, CEO at Aslan Brewing, once told me that one of his main responsibilities was to ensure all the cogs within the brewery were moving.

Sticking with that metaphor, Adam is actively working within and responsible for most of the critical cogs at Overflow. While his main responsibility is ultimately operations, his strengths are in just about everything.

The other owner is Libolt, who is Nelson’s brother-in-law. Libolt and Stacey have been friends for a very long time.

Lesley Anker, Lead Beertender of Overflow Taps

Jesse says another important person at Overflow is their lead bartender, Lesley Anker. Anker was a finalist for the Tap Trail’s 2016 Best Beertender competition. Nelson refers to her as “The Key.” If it wasn’t for her Nelson and Stacey wouldn’t be able to focus on the much needed growth that is imperative to their Overflow’s mission.

This tight knit management team, connected by friendship and family, is driving them to succeed and push its boundaries. Overflow Taps is moving. It’s shaking. When you walk into Overflow Taps remember that you’re not just asking your beer tender to pour you a pint. Remember to think about what’s actually in your beer. You’re drinking, so that others can do the same.