Business

Bellingham brewery getting into cans, bottles

eabell@bhamherald.com

A small Bellingham brewing company started off small, but is ready to take the next step.

Structures Brewing is celebrating its first year in business Dec. 2-3 by releasing two beer packages: one bottled and one canned. The bottled product is a mango-flavored beer. The cans, which will feature an IPA, are a first for the company, said co-founder James Alexander. A portion of the can sales will go toward Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition.

Alexander and Ryan Miller founded the brewery a year ago with the goal of starting small, focusing on quality and building personal relationships with customers. They had customers try beer at their taproom and sold growlers out of the brewery. Soon they started landing accounts, and the strong tasting-room sales have allowed them to buy beer canning equipment.

Alexander said one thing he tells his customers is that hop-forward beers taste best when fresh. He hopes to sell out the canned beer and that it tastes much different from other beers.

“Hoppy beer is like a rad loaf of sourdough bread,” Alexander said.

The plan for the brewery in 2017 is to have a can and bottle release each month. This will involve the introduction of Fuzz, its flagship beer. The cans will be sold out of Structures’ taproom. More Structures beer will also be showing up at other local establishments, including Elizabeth Station. Structures also plans on having a food truck parked in front of its taproom at 1420 N. State St. for much of 2017.

For details and updates on Structures, visit its Facebook page.

WHAT CYBER MONDAY MEANS LOCALLY

With Black Friday out of the way, next up is Cyber Monday, something that has presented a challenge to local brick-and-mortar stores for years.

The Nov. 28 event is not as big a deal as it used to because online stores have opted to offer deals throughout the holiday season, said Dev Shapiro of Gottadeal.com, which tracks retail sales. However, online sales in general continue to take a bigger bite out of local store sales. What do online sales mean for sales tax revenue for cities like Bellingham?

It’s hard to tell, but they do have some impact, said Brian Henshaw, finance director at the city.

With sales tax destination-based, the city should get revenue from things that are delivered here. That’s the way it works for the big sites like Amazon.com, which collects the tax at the time of purchase. A smaller website based outside Washington may or may not be collecting that tax.

“It’s hard to tell how many are actually doing it,” Henshaw said. “We do know the big companies are doing it.”

So far this year retail sales revenue for the city has been solid, but a bigger part of it has resulted from a busy construction season. Revenue from stores, particularly big box stores, is down. How much of that is from the dip in cross-border shopping vs. the growth of online shopping probably depends on the individual store and its target customers.

OTHER TIDBITS

ACME Farms + Kitchen is opening a holiday pop-up store at 1230 Cornwall Ave., in The Leopold building. The shop will offer gift boxes featuring locally sourced foods and treats, according to a company news release. Some items will come from San Juan Sea Salt, Moon Valley Organic and Flying Bird Botanicals. Regular days of operation through Dec. 23 are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Details can be found on its Facebook page. ... Bellis Fair also includes a variety of holiday pop-up stores this season, including See’s Candies, Hickory Farms, Emoji Pillows, Pillow Pets, LED Shoes and RC Toys.

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