We visited one of Seattle’s newest breweries a few weeks ago: Burdick Brewing, which opened a couple months ago in the South Park neighborhood (read it). At that time, we learned that someone was constructing another brewery right next door—Lowercase Brewing. In fact, it’s not really next door: they share a wall, with a roll-up door between the two businesses.
Also, some time back we told you about Tin Dog Brewing, which hopes to open soon in South Park (read it). Of course, Odin Brewing has been there for a few years now, but all of this recent action is intriguing. What, exactly, is happening in South Park? Is it destined to become the area’s next “brewery district?”
I decided to ask Christopher Smith a few questions. He is currently building Lowercase Brewing, which intends to open on January 17.
Washington Beer Blog: Will Lowercase Brewing be a nano-brewery? What is the size of your brewhouse?
Christopher Smith: We have a direct-fire 3-barrel brewhouse, put together by the fellas down at Portland Kettle Works. According to the “official” definition, that does make us a nano-brewery. What is interesting is that we were actually going to start smaller with a 1-barrel setup, but we couldn’t make the numbers work with regards to real estate costs. Industrial areas were too big and retail areas were too pricey. So we had to re-evaluate the business model and increase our production capacity.
WBB: You guys are opening right next door to Burdick Brewing, correct?
CS: Correct, same building. We actually share a roll-up door. Two breweries, same space equals awesome!
WBB: Will you have a tasting room with regular hours?
CS: Yes… a small tasting room just like [Burdick Brewery’s]. As of now we are thinking we will be open Thursday-Sunday from about 4:00 pm to 9:00/10:00 pm. At least that is the initial plan.
WBB: What makes South Park a good target for a brewery? Real estate prices, location?
CS: We didn’t necessarily seek out South Park as a location. It found us, primarily because of the building… In general though, South Park is a pretty neat neighborhood. It is diverse and has an amazingly strong sense of community, not to mention the fact that it is very industrial, which feels like home to a brewery. We are actually taking cues from the industrial nature of the neighborhood in terms of brewery design and plan to be very active members of the community. So far so good!
WBB: When is the South Park Bridge going to open back up? How do you expect it to impact business? Do you or the entire South Park business community have plans for that day?
CS: From what I understand, it is scheduled to be open sometime this spring. I do think that the re-opening should be additive to our business. However, I am not sure how many people will drive down to South Park to get beer. Personally, I feel like the majority of our taproom business is going to come from local folks living in South Seattle already. As it stands right now there are actually not a lot of places to hang out in South Park outside of Loretta’s. [Burdick Brewery] and I are trying to change that. But there will definitely be a bridge re-opening party!
WBB: What about the name? Why Lowercase Brewing?
CS: The name Lowercase came from two main things:
We wanted a way for our customers to easily recognize our beers in a crowded marketplace, so we needed something with a theme to tie our beers together. We thought the alphabet was a decent place to start. That will be more clear as we release our label art (coming soon!)
We feel the primary concern of breweries should be the quality of their beer, not their branding nor their size. To us, the essence of lower case letters is that they are understated and purely concerned with their content and not their treatment. We liked the link.
Lowercase Brewing will be located at
8103 8th Ave. S
Seattle, WA 98108