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Bellingham brewery’s new name embodies ‘some of my favorite cities to go drink beer’

New name, menu and beers are coming to Melvin Brewing

Gary Pickering, the new majority owner of Melvin Brewing Bellingham, explains how the brewpub's culture is changing in Bellingham, Wash., on July 25, 2019.
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Gary Pickering, the new majority owner of Melvin Brewing Bellingham, explains how the brewpub's culture is changing in Bellingham, Wash., on July 25, 2019.

Local businessman Gary Pickering, who announced he purchased a controlling interest in Melvin Brewing’s Bellingham location earlier this summer, took another step toward divorcing the brewery from its troubled past by announcing the location’s new name.

The brewery and restaurant located at 2416 Meridian St. is now known as 122 West Brewing Co. Pickering said a number of different names were considered before it was chosen.

“I like to think the new name represents the West Coast,” Pickering told The Bellingham Herald. “The 122 West is the meridian that runs through Whistler (B.C.), Bellingham, Seattle, Portland and Santa Cruz (California). ... It runs through a lot of cool cities — some of my favorite cities to go drink beer in.”

Pickering said most of the Melvin Brewing branding has been removed, but things may not be official until late next week, as he’s still waiting for the liquor control board and a couple of other state agencies to tie up some loose ends.

“Our new menu is coming out great, and we’ve got 10 new beers under the 122 West brand,” Pickering said.

Pickering said he’s also gotten a lot of positive response from patrons returning to the brewery now that it is no longer operating under the Melvin brand or way of doing things.

“The feedback has been 99.99% positive,” Pickering told The Herald. “We’re excited to finally get people back here. They (Melvin) lost a lot of people, and I’m excited to see people from the neighborhood wander back in to get some good food and some good beer.”

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Gary Pickering, the new majority owner of Melvin Brewing Bellingham, said in July that a new name, menu and beers are on their way for the Fountain District brewpub in Bellingham. Lacey Young The Bellingham Herald

As previously reported by The Herald, only months after opening its doors in Bellingham, Melvin found itself in the crosshairs of a social media storm in March 2018, after a Melvin’s employee reportedly sexually harassed an employee at a nearby brewery.

According to a March 9, 2018, Facebook post by Melvin Brewing Bellingham, the incident occurred in November of 2017 and involved an employee from the company’s Wyoming operations.

Social media hatred intensified when Melvin’s contact page was found to include the header “Touch Us” and the phrase “Show us on the doll where Melvin Brewing touched you.”

The outcry over the incident and website content resulted in the Bellingham location being vandalized. Melvin also was excluded from Bellingham Beer Week 2018.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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