Nano-brewery to open in Seaside

By: Felicia Struve - Mar 30, 2012
Source: Coast River Business Journal

Good beer, good food and a family-friendly atmosphere will soon fill the old City Hall in Seaside.

Seaside Brewing Co. is launching into phase one of its plans by opening a nano-brewery and pub on the southwest corner of Broadway and U.S. Highway 101.

“It’s time that Seaside had its own brewpub,” said co-owner Jimmy Griffin. “It’s such a unique spot that we had to do the brewpub.”

Griffin and his partner both have a long history in brewing and running pubs. “We’re not rookies,” Griffin said, in a bit of an understatement.

Before launching on this venture, Griffin was the manager of the Rogue Ales Public House on Pier 39 in Astoria and is an experienced caterer. His partner, Vince Berg, oversaw operations at several Rogue pubs as general manager.

The buzz around Griffin and Berg is positive. “They’ve put together a good business plan,” said landlord Ken Ulbricht. “They are great to work with.”

They plan to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the business. “We’re beer snobs, but we don’t get snotty about it. … We’re working owners,” he said. “We’re bartending, brewing, mopping floors and fixing pipes.”

At this point, the pair are interviewing staff, buying lumber and managing the build out of the two-story building with the intent to open by Memorial Day weekend.

“To me, beer is a great social experience. … We want to let [the pub] take on its own life,” Griffin said. “We don’t want it to be a Portland brewpub. We want it to be a Seaside brewpub.”

Griffin moved to Seaside from Astoria a year ago when he left Rogue. “I’ve never lived anywhere that I’ve liked as much as here, he said. “Seaside’s a little more my speed—I like the surf element … I think it’s a beautiful town. I love the beach.”

Griffin said his kids also like Seaside, so much so that they’re currently staging a coup to convince their mother to move from Utah to Seaside.

Phase one Seaside Brewing Co.’s three-phase plan is the brewpub; phase two involves opening a production facility; and phase three is top-secret. Griffin said they’ve been working with Craft3, formerly Enterprise Cascadia, on funding the brewpub.

Griffin wasn’t ready to talk about the pub’s menu in any detail, but he said, “We’re focusing on our service and on our food. … We understand it’s got to be more than burgers and fries.”

He’s even driving “all the way to the border of Canada to buy the right pizza oven.”

Atmosphere and service is also high on Griffin’s list of must-haves for the brewpub. “Lots of people make really good beer,” but the place they drink it leaves something to be desired, he said.

Griffin said there are three outdoor spaces at the building that they plan to use during the summer months, including two patios on the upper floor. Then, in the off-season when traffic slows down, they’ll close off the upper floor to keep things feeling lively downstairs.

There won’t be any booths in the pub, so tables can be pushed together to accommodate large groups.

Griffin said he thinks Seaside Brewing Co. fits well with the culture of Seaside and the north coast beer culture.

“It turns out there’s a lot of home brewers in Seaside—I was amazed. It’s an entire town of home brewers,” he said.

The one-barrel brewing capacity in the pub won’t be large enough for commercial production, but it will be just right for demonstrations and clinics with home brewers and could possibly be a way for local home brewers to share their favorite recipes with the public, Griffin said.

Griffin said that the owners of the Rogue family of pubs and Fort George’s Chris Nemlowill and Jack Harris have been “really supportive” of their efforts.

“People have no idea how spoiled they are,” with the wealth of microbreweries in the northwest, Griffin remarked. “With the [Fort] George and with us, it makes it a powerful north coast thing.”

Seaside Brewing Co. will be located at 851 Broadway St., Seaside. 

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