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Have a beer with that houseplant

A Fremont business creates a surprisingly perfect pairing. #k5evening

SEATTLE — It's a plant store with beer. Or maybe a beer store with plants?

"I think that the intersection of plant lovers and beer lovers is much larger than we expected," said co-owner Scott Bianchi.

The Botanic(ale) in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood offers tastings of local brews, surrounded by vibrant tropical flora for sale.

"What I really try to do here is find a lot of different textures and patterns," said plant enthusiast Jo Huang, Bianchi's partner and co-owner.

Huang came up with The Botanic(ale)'s unusual business plan and envisioned its comfortable speakeasy vibe.

"I'd been an entrepreneur my whole life," she said. "I come from a long line of business owners."

Huang curates the greenery.

"I called it a plant showroom," she said. "Because I didn't want a traditional retail space."

She also keeps the customers smiling.

"She just has a way of connecting with people like I've never seen before, which is what made me fall in love with her," Bianchi said.

As a longtime beer lover, Bianchi handles the drink menu. It's made up of small-batch, local products, including beer, mead, alcoholic ginger beer, and even a little seltzer. He's personally met all the producers and relishes telling their stories.

"He's tried thousands of beers," Huang said. "When I first met him he had a commercial fridge in his condo."

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With a background in big business, Scott is concentrating these days on what he loves. His positive outlook could be the result of staring down bone cancer and beating the odds a decade ago, struggling with the painful after-effects of the disease, and standing side-by-side with his biggest cheerleader, Huang.

"She wanted me to do something that I'm passionate about," he said.

From the casual outdoor beer garden to the cozy tasting room, Bianchi and Huang can't wait to share their passions with you at The Botanic(ale), where plants plus pints make for a "growing" business with great taste.

"We love what we do," Huang said.

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