A tall beer was the welcome reward after a long week at Seattle's Naked City Brewpub Friday night, but for some the work was just beginning.
Justin Gerardy recently opened Standard Brewing in the city's Central District. It's a "nanobrewery" (smaller than a microbrewery) that makes beer just 31 gallons at a time.
As he sipped one of his beers being poured Friday night at Naked City, he compared his beer business to a childhood treat. "I often liken the tiny brewery to a lemonade stand. You're making it in the back. You're selling it in the front. It's so simple."
Seattle is currently overflowing with new nanos -- at least 10 are on tap across the city right now.
Don Webb started Naked City Brewing in his home, and grew it into a staple in the Greenwood neighborhood. He believes the current climate is perfect for people to get into brewing and escape their dreary day jobs, just like he did. "I got sick of sitting behind a desk," he said. The venture struggled a bit at first, but 6 years later it has expanded and business is great. "It's good to start small. People like to support local. It's nice to be able to walk out your front door and walk a few blocks to you local neighborhood brewery."
On Friday night Naked City hosted a nanobrewery bash for the 6th annual Seattle Beer Week. The place was packed, showing how much demand there is for new brews.
Craft beer sales continue to grow across America, but especially in markets like Seattle where the craft beer revolution began three decades ago. Sales are expected to more than double to about 20% of the total beer market over the next decade. It leads one to believe there could be room for a brewery in just about every Seattle neighborhood. "I think that's possible," said blogger Paul Orchard of the Northwest Beer Guide. (http://nwbeerguide.blogspot.com/) Unlike Seattle's ubiquitous coffee shops, however, Orchard believes the market will come to a frothy head. "I would imagine we're going to see a slow down in the frequency of nanobreweries opening, not just here, but around the state. Part of that will likely come from rising costs. But that's years away."
As with any new business, it's a lot of work. Standard Brewing's Justin Gerardy put in many 80 hour work weeks as he got his facility up and running. He simply hopes the market stays thirsty. "I'm pretty tired, but I'm just taking what's in front of me and going with it."