About one month ago, Aaron Johnson and Bryan Copeland launched a campaign on kickstarter.com to put the finishing touches on their new Gig Harbor brewery, Wet Coast Brewing Company.
In 30 days, the campaign raised $19,705 from 122 backers, surpassing the $15,000 goal.
That kind of community support is one of the reasons Johnson and Copeland wanted to start a brewery in Gig Harbor. With business booming down the hill at 7 Seas Brewery, the duo figured now is as good a time as any to expand the craft beer scene in Gig Harbor.
Johnson, along with his wife, April, and Bryan and his wife, Molly, are hoping the brewery is a hit.
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“We love the support the local community has for craft businesses,” Johnson said. “Everything from 7 Seas to Heritage Distillery to independent coffee shops. We want to be craft beer — artisan, small batch beer. That support was a good match for us.”
The “Wet Coast” name is a nod to the region’s prohibition-era history. Alcohol was often smuggled into Washington through Canada during Prohibition, earning the Pacific Northwest the nickname of “wet coast.”
“We love the history of it,” said Johnson, 33.
The name is also a nod to the region’s climate.
“Everyone knows how soggy it can get here,” Johnson said.
In keeping with the theme, the brewery’s logo is enclosed with a raindrop. At the bottom, there’s an umbrella — but it’s closed.
“We all own umbrellas, but very few of us actually use them,” Johnson said.
The taproom, located at 6820 Kimball Drive, will feature eight beers on tap — four regular beers and four seasonal offerings — and will have a prohibition-era, speakeasy theme.
The regular beer lineup will feature a brown ale, pale ale, an IPA and most likely a stout. The naming process for the beers is still underway. Johnson hopes the beer names will spur conversation about the brewery’s historical theme.
“If you tell people the story behind something, they’re likely to remember it,” Johnson said. “That’s what we want to do with our beers. Hopefully it’ll generate interest and the help the following, helps us connect with our customers.”
Wet Coast will stick with growlers and kegs for the first year or so before venturing into cans and/or bottles. The brewery aims to open its doors in mid-June, but there isn’t a set date in place yet.
“We’ve been really well received by residents and local businesses, and our doors aren’t even open yet,” Johnson said. “I’m excited to be able to open our doors and serve them a pint.”