Loren J. DeMuth and Theresa Green wanted to do something a little different in the Bellingham brewery scene and, after nearly three years of planning, they are nearly ready to show the results.
Their Twin Sisters Brewing will produce a variety of different beers and feature a restaurant and bar, called Bellingham Beer Garden, that will fill a remodeled warehouse. The property will also have a large beer garden and park area, providing an area where people can relax and enjoy the weather or play games like cornhole. There is also a play area for children.
The brewery is a few weeks from opening at 500 Carolina St. in the Sunnyland neighborhood. It's hosting a job fair June 13-15 to fill more than 100 full-time positions and around 30 part-time positions. The full-time positions will offer benefits such as paid time off, said Wade Clark, general manager of Twin Sisters.
The job fair will be held 1-5 p.m. at the facility. Positions include kitchen staff, back-of-the-house jobs as well as bartenders and servers.
It's unusual for a new, locally-owned brewery to hire this many people at the start, but this facility will have a lot of different features that require more workers, Clark said.
"We want to focus on full-time employment," Clark said. "We want it to feel like a family operation and having benefits is a part of that."
The brewery plans to host events to welcome neighbors during the Sunnyland Stomp on July 14, with a soft opening later in the month.
The restaurant has high ceilings and a lot of open space, giving the married couple plenty of room to be creative. DeMuth, who has operated CDI Custom Design for nearly 30 years, tapped into his experience in business design as well as researching other breweries/restaurants to come up with his current layout.
Some features in the restaurant include a tunnel entrance that leads into an open space that has an upper mezzanine area that can be used for corporate events. The restaurant and bar area has large garage-style glass doors and windows giving people a view of the beer garden/park area.
The restaurant will offer a pub menu as well as a variety of vegan options. Twin Sisters will also have barbecue events and plans are in the works for a steakhouse operation within the building. Food will be made from scratch, Clark said, and there will be 30 beers available on tap.
The brewery has the initial capacity to make about 4,000 barrels of beer a year, which would be about two-thirds of Boundary Bay Brewery's production levels of around 5,800 barrels, according to data from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. The first step will be to get the beer flowing into the restaurant, then expand into other restaurants. Eventually they plan to get into grocery stores with canned beer.
Twin Sisters Brewmaster Tom Eastwood said his goal is to create enjoyable, approachable beers with many drawn from the German and Belgium traditions. Eastwood has worked at local breweries, including Kulshan Brewing.
Are there too many breweries in Bellingham? DeMuth is convinced that's not the case, pointing out that while Bellingham has 12, similarly sized Bend, Ore., has around 20. He's also noticed how popular the local breweries are, particularly in the evening as people are dining.
"So yes, there is certainly room to grow," DeMuth said.