The Local Public House on Railroad Avenue is an eclectic mix. One part tap house, one part brewery front for Menace Brewing, one part bottle shop (yes, you can buy awesome beer bottles there.) It’s about to get much more exciting thought. I’ve been talking to Rob Whitney, one of the proprietors of The Local, and he gave me the lowdown on the addition of The Annex and the Bellingham’s NEXT brewery, the Bellingham Beer Lab.
What inspired you to do this? What made you want to be a non-profit brewery?
When we first heard about the BBL idea a couple years ago, we could not have been more excited to see it come to life, however, life as we know it can be hard and crazy at times and they unfortunately did not open. Now, with this project actually coming to life, Bellingham can have its first coop brewery and Washington’s first non-profit brewery. As this will be a volunteer operation for the brewers, we wanted to give what they could back to the awesome community that we are home to in Bellingham. It’s not that we don’t want to make money, it’s the opposite actually as we want to sell as much of their beers to send money out into the community!
Have you visited or talked to the non-profit brewery down in Portland, Ex Novo? How will you be the same or different?
We’ve been in contact with Oregon’s first and only non-profit brewery: Ex Novo who is one of the few non-profit breweries in the country. Their advise and inspiration to this project as helped us move forward to the non-profit world in brewing and we could not be more thankful for their help!
Who will be able to brew at the BBL? What type of brewing systems will you be offering?
To start, the BBL will be home to a select group of brewers (TBA), one of which will be the Bellingham home brewers guild. They will rotate brewers thru monthly so they’ll have opportunities to not only put their beers on tap, they can put money back into the community. In the future, we will welcome more core brewers to filter thru and brew, however time will tell when that will be possible.
What else will the new addition have in it besides the BBL? Taps? Seating?
This expansion, known as the Local Annex, will have an additional 20 taps from the Local Public House side, five of which will be designated to the BBL. We will also have pool tables, shuffle board, darts and some vintage arcade games. TV’s on the wall will have sports or whatever which is different from the Local who uses the TV for their beer menu! Lounge seating (couches, chairs, etc) and lots of stand up bar space will allow for the more relaxed-non restaurant feel to the Local. Imagine coming in for a couple beers and a Rueben and then walk over to hang out and play darts or pool, that is going to be awesome!
When do you expect to open?
Open date is still up in the air, however our goal would be to have the bar side open by Bellingham Beer Week! The BBL has a plan to be brewing on site by early 2016, sooner if possible.