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Propolis Brewing plans to expand in Port Townsend

Last Sunday we saw Robert Horner, co-owner of Propolis Brewing, at the West Seattle Farmers Market where he gave us an update on the brewery’s expansion plans. Anyone familiar with Propolis knows it’s not unusual to run into Robert or his partner, Piper Corbett, at a farmers market; selling beer at local farmers markets is part of the brewery’s identity and one of the ways it developed such a loyal, grassroots following. That, of course, combined with uncommon, delicious and creative beers.

Propolis Brewing is upgrading from its current one-barrel system to a new 15-barrel system from JVNW and is moving off the homestead and into town, but the philosophy is not changing.

Robert and Piper are opening a brewery and tasting room in Port Townsend, on Washington Street, not far from the Pourhouse. Hopefully, this summer or fall. The new system should arrive in the fall, but they may move earlier.

According to Piper, “It is going to mean everything for us to finally have a place to set up a public tasting space.”

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Piper and Robert – Picture courtesy of the Propolis campaign page.

Last Saturday, when the winners of the Washington Beer Awards were announced (see the winners here), Propolis took home the gold and silver for American-Style Brett Beer, along with a bronze medal for Herb and Spiced Beer. Even more impressive, the brewery also captured gold at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival for its Beltane (an herbal golden) in the American-Style Brett Beer category.

That kind of success spurred a lot of interest from people outside of Port Townsend and away from the Western Washington farmers market circuit. Propolis has shipped beer to as far away as Chicago.

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But expansion or not, the philosophy is not changing. In a recent interview with the Port Townsend Leader, Robert said, “We want to focus on quality, not quantity, and encourage people to come here, visit Port Townsend.”

Piper Corbett said, “It’s about having a different worldview of business in a small town. What sets our beer apart [is that] we’re focusing on beers that are representative of our local place and a traditional style.”

To help fund the expansion project, Propolis turned to its community and a micro-finance program, which only covers a small portion of the project’s overall funding. To learn more about the funding campaign see the story in the Port Townsend Leader here or visit the campaign page.