We spend a moment with Juile of Birdsview Brewing Company to talk history, values and the future of Birdsview. As always, we hope you enjoy the interview.
If there are any comments or questions you would like asked to future brewers, please let us know in the comments section below. Anyway on with the interview…
It all started with a shotgun and one man’s crazy idea…
So, can you tell us how it all started for you?
It all started when our master brewer Bill, won a local fire department raffle for a shot gun. Since his wife, Kris, wasn’t too keen on having a gun in the house, she vetoed that real quick. They decided to cash in the check instead. With that Bill bought his first home brew kit. That was over 12 years and nearly 500 brews ago. And the rest is history!
How many are in your team currently?
Currently we have seven team members. We are all family owned and operated with the exception of one team member, but we’ve adopted him as a Voigt! Bill is the owner/brew master/farmer/trash man/bus boy/designated beer taster. His wife Kris is the owner/deli manager/brew mom. We also have Julie (that’s me), I’m a brewer/keg filler/dishwasher/whatever else anyone asks me to do-er! Jessie, is our accountant/bookkeeper/manager/ bartender/server. Sara and Kyle are our wonderful weekend bartenders/servers/comedians/entertainers. And last but not least we have Julian who works back in the deli slinging up burgers and other fun creations he thinks up! We all wear many hats and fill in pretty much wherever is needed.
Were there any mishaps / funny moments along the way leading to now?
I think any business open for any length of time is bound to have some mishaps along the way, right? We hit a rough patch a few years ago where we pretty much had to revamp our entire business plan and start from scratch. We are definitely fortunate for that time now because we learned so much and are more successful because of it.
As for funny moments… Too many to count! Being a close crew and creating a fun work environment is extremely important to us. We like our team members and patrons to feel like part of our family. From the skits we put together for a teammate’s birthday, to the blind taste test challenges we partake in, to the group high fives we give each other at the end of a busy day, all help bond us together as a unit. We often find ourselves hanging out with each other even on our days away from the Brew House!
What are the values of your brewery?
Here in Birdsview we value good, quality beer. We pride ourselves on making truly hand crafted brews. We do absolutely everything by hand. Mix the mash by hand, stir the wort by hand, and shovel out the tun, (you guessed it) by hand! We think it sets our beer apart from the larger breweries by making it a more unique experience for the customer. We also like to focus on local ingredients. If possible getting them directly from our own property. Honey from our beehives, hops from our field, things like that. Supporting your local community is SO important to us!
What made you decide on your bottle / label style and theme?
Since we don’t bottle (yet) I can give you the history of our logo. Our logo is Sauk Mountain, which is a nearby, well known attraction in the upper Skagit Valley along with the infamous Skagit River. In front of the mountain is an eagle carrying two beers in his talons. Eagles are also very prevalent in our area, although I have never seen one try to take off with someone’s beer…
With that in mind what is your signature brew and what makes it stand out?
Our number one girl is definitely Ditsy Blonde, in house and out of house, every month of the year. This is a blonde style brewed with fresh lime peel. I think you don’t often see too many blonde ales being done, and being done really well. The lime gives it a unique refreshing flavor. It’s higher in ABV too (about 7.6%) so I think that adds to the appeal as well!
What do you love about brewing and the industry in general?
I love how creative we get to be. A recipe is really only limited to your imagination. There are endless combinations of grains, hops and yeasts to try and experiment with. It also brings us the most joy to see how happy our beer makes other people. There is no better compliment to us than hearing someone say that they love what we are doing.
As for the industry it self, I love how passionate everyone is! The people I’ve met in the industry are just as happy to talk about beer as we are. It’s nice to have people who can understand and share in something that is so important to all of us.
Are you attending any festivals in the coming months?
We have had a busy summer so far! In July we had our biggest event/fundraiser of the year, Birdstock. This is a fundraiser we hold every year for the Birdsview Fire Department. We have bands all day, along with bbq and lots and lots of beer!
We also just attended an event in Mount Vernon, Brewfest on the Skagit. In October we will be attending the Beer on the Pier event in Anacortes, and an Oktoberfest in Bellingham.
We also host another fundraiser in house in October. Our Cardiac Arrest Fest. We raise money for the heart center at our local Skagit Valley Hospital. These are always so much fun!
What are your plans for the future and where do you think the industry is headed?
Our plans for the future are to try and keep up with our demand and avoid running out of beer! We’d like to eventually brew on a larger scale, along with growing more of our own ingredients. We have nearly 12 acres of land that we would like to utilize sometime in the future.
The industry… It’s definitely changing. With the merger of InBev and SABMiller being finalized, I think we will see a big shift. They will continue to buy up the smaller guys to add to their brand portfolio. I hope to see more people becoming informed of the breweries they are supporting.
I also think that with so many breweries opening up all over the US, the average consumer will become more informed of what good, quality, craft beer really tastes like. Which I believe could lead to some of the breweries who are making slightly sub par beer, to be weeded out of the industry.
Are there any breweries that you admire for what they are producing?
We definitely admire Boundary Bay in Bellingham. They’ve paved the way for the booming beer scene in Bellingham. They’ve been in operation for over 20 years and continue to produce really awesome, high quality brews. They are fantastic people and have a great thing going. We never pass up an opportunity to up and visit them!
Finally, what is the best way for our readers to pick up a bottle or two?
Come on in to the Brew House! It can be quite a trek for some people, but we think it’s worth it (but we also may be a little bias).
For more information on how it all began head over to the birdsview brewing company website.
Or if you are in the area, head over to a beer or two.
Birdsview Brewing Company
38302 State Route 20
Concrete, WA 98237