It’s no secret Bellingham is becoming a bigger and better hub for craft beer. With so many new breweries popping up in the next year or so, it’s important to bring something new to table. What Stones Throw Brewery is offering is a completely new brewery environment geared entirely around integrating with its surrounding community of Fairhaven.
Owners Jack Pflueger and Tony Luciano have dreamed of opening their brewery since they became friends at Western Washington University. “Tony’s been ‘Stones Throw Brewery’ in my phone contacts since 2001,” Jack explained. Stones Throw got its start back in 2012, when Jack flew out to meet Tony where he was living in Indonesia to start developing their business plan. In October of 2013, Jack and Tony moved into a little house together in downtown Fairhaven, pulled together their money and contacts, and began turning their home into a brewery.
Roof patio with freshly poured cement
The entire garage has been renovated into what will be the main tap room with the bar. There are two outdoor drinking areas surrounding fire pits in the front of the brewery and in the back. In addition, there will be a cozy patio located on the roof. For the brewing system, beer will get brewed in one shipping container on the ground level, then it will ferment in the second shipping container stacked directly on top of it. It’s also important to note that in construction, Stones Throw is trying to keep everything as locally as they can and produce as little waste as possible. The inner walls from the repurposed storage containers were stripped and cut to make the front face wall of the brewery. The back deck was made from 90% recycled plastic materials. Almost all the lumber used in construction was sourced locally. They’ve even rigged a closed loop water system in their brewing, refrigeration, and heating so that all the water will be kept onsite and as little of it will be wasted as possible.
Brewing system in lower shipping container.
While a lot of “new” is happening to the building, Stones Throw is doing as much as they can to preserve the “old.” Above the fireplace mantle inside the house is a photograph of historic Fairhaven. Jack pointed out how they fell in love with the square-like structures of the old buildings, and they used that as inspiration to create the square front facade of the brewery. You’ll also find the history of the house, which dates back to the 1800s when it was a stable and a brothel by the name of Miss Annie’s Palace.
Stones Throw was designed to not feel like a commercial building, but instead, as Jack puts it, “…like you’re drinking in your buddy’s backyard.” To achieve this goal, Jack and Tony could not have picked a better location than downtown Fairhaven. Even during construction, Stones Throw gives off a warm and welcoming vibe. Part of this is due to the overwhelming community support surrounding them during construction. Just in the short time I visited, neighbors were popping in and out to check in, help out, and say hello. Stones Throw has completely melded into the Fairhaven community, and it’s been extremely helpful for Jack and Tony. Instead of hiring outside help to come in and build for them, Jack and Tony are testing themselves to see what all they can accomplish with their own hands, and with the helping hands of their friends and neighbors. One neighbor is helping with the woodworking, another neighbor is helping provide creative food ideas, and so many others are pitching in. One friend is helping weld their bar and provide the space to do so, and he’s even helping the guys create little holes in the bar that will run refrigeration so that you can place your beer inside and never worry about it getting warm.
While Stones Throw originally planned to open their doors early summer this year, they’ve been using this time to gain so much support. There have been many obstacles thrown their way, but Jack and Tony are rolling up their sleeves, taking them on, and having a blast while doing it. Jack and Tony aren’t looking to mass produce, sell their product in grocery stores, and make a lot of money. Their goal is to keep the beer and the money in Fairhaven. The goal is not for Stones Throw to be a competitor, but instead they want to partner with businesses and restaurants in Fairhaven. They’re taking the philosophy of “a rising tide raises all boats,” and already they seem to be succeeding in that sense.
So what’s next? Stones Throw will be hosting an open house on Sunday, September 13th from 2:00pm to 6:00pm as part of Bellingham Beer Week. While there is no official opening date for Stones Throw, Jack says that they’re aiming for October and if that isn’t fast enough, “come on by with your skills and help us out.”