Monday, January 21, 2013
Brewery Profile - 7 Seas Brewing in Gig Harbor, WA
In July of 2009, 7 Seas Brewing fired up the kettle at its brewery in Gig Harbor. Since that time, they’ve made quite a name for themselves. If nothing else, they have the notable distinction of becoming the first Washington craft brewery to package its beer in aluminum cans. The first cans of 7 Seas beer hit the market in the spring of 2010.
The two men behind 7 Seas Brewing are Travis Guterson and Mike Runion. They met while working at Silver City Brewing in Silverdale and decided that they wanted to give it a whirl on their own. Travis is the brewing mastermind and Mike handles pretty much everything else from sales and marketing to events and merchandising.
Travis is a well-traveled brewer for his age. His resume includes stops at Pelican Brewing (Pacific City, OR), Old Lompoc Brewery (Portland, OR), and Silver City Brewing (Silverdale, WA). There are a couple of things you’ll notice about Travis that clue you in to the fact that he’s a brewer. First, like many of his fellow brewers, he sports a lot of hair. Second, his body art is unmistakably beer-themed.
Mike developed an interest in the craft beer scene several years ago. His “official” title at the brewery is CEE (Chief Executive Everything). He knew that if he ever wanted to open a brewery of his own, he needed to know about the industry from the inside out. He worked at Silver City Brewing doing whatever needed to be done. Like so many others, his career in the beer industry started out as a keg washer. Mike considers his time at Silver City an internship.
Travis and Mike started building the brewery in late 2008. In January of 2009, a fire destroyed most of their work. The two were not discouraged and moved forward without missing a beat.
“The stainless steel is pretty much all that survived,” Mike says. “We’re fortunate that we found a company that specializes in cleaning up stainless when it’s suffered smoke damage. We lost pretty much everything. From the big stuff to the little stuff, from the glycol unit and the computers to the gaskets and o-rings, if it wasn’t stainless it was lost.”
There’s something to be said for the power of optimism. You sense that Mike and Travis now look back at the fire and see only the light. No doubt, the set back (in terms of time and money) was a heart breaker at first, but they did not feel sorry for themselves and forged ahead. “We ended up in a better space–one which we like a lot more than the original space,” says Travis.
The location in Gig Harbor is right next to the Inn at Gig Harbor. In fact, you basically drive through the hotel’s parking lot to get to 7 Seas Brewing. The tasting room overlooks the brewery. Outside, when the weather permits, you’ll find the Northwest Beer Garden, which reminds you of a picnic spot at a State Park. The community of Gig Harbor has embraced the brewery and its beer. To a certain degree, Mike and Travis are rock stars in that town. The first two anniversary parties are the stuff of legend: you’d swear the entire city of Gig Harbor was there.
The regular lineup from 7 Seas includes Ballz Deep Double IPA, British Pale, Ale, Cutt’s NW Amber Ale, and Port Royal Export Style Stout. Seasonal and occasional beers include Cascadian Dark Ale, Hop Prophet Wet Hop Ale, Rude Parrot IPA, Saison Du Sept Mers, Santa’s Smoking Winter Warmer, and Wheelchair Barleywine.
You can find 7 Seas Ballz Deep Double IPA and British Pale Ale at most bottleshops and better beer stores around the Puget Sound area in 16 ounce aluminum cans.
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT 7 SEAS BREWING? CHECK THIS OUT!
7 Seas Brewing
3207 57th ST CT NW
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
Courtesy of the Washington Beer Commission at www.washingtonbeer.com