BREMERTON — Where can you go in Bremerton to help raise money for the Kitsap Humane Society, raise awareness and help end veteran suicide, play board games, talk with friends and even hold a baby shower?
Lovecraft Brewing Company doesn’t seem like the obvious answer, but every one of those events has taken place there, or will take place soon.
Owned and operated by Tasha and Jesse Wilson, the brewery, which is actually a tasting room and therefore, family friendly, has been open since Nov. 27, 2015, also known as Black Friday. It’s located at 275 Fifth St., Suite 101, in Bremerton.
And it all started when the owners met while they both worked for Hale’s Ales in Seattle.
“We worked together for about a year, then we got together and decided we wanted to move out of the city,” Tasha explained, “so we moved to Port Townsend. The whole time, we were kind of daydreaming about starting our own brewery.”
They didn’t, at first. For a while, the couple worked at Port Townsend Brewing Company and started their family. Finally, they decided to try and open their own brewery, in Jesse’s hometown of Bremerton.
“We both had the skill set to do it, and we wanted to just try this venture on our own,” Tasha said. “It also allowed us to set our own schedule, with having a kid and everything. It made it so our lives are a little more flexible, and it’s easier to have a family and work at the same time.”
Before they could really get started, though, Tasha said they held a Kickstarter Campaign, hoping to raise $30,000 — the cost of the startup brewing equipment. She said if it failed, they’d move to Bend, Oregon, instead, since there are so many breweries in that town.
“But the Kickstarter succeeded, obviously, cause we’re here now, so that’s what helped us get started here,” Tasha said.
Tasha and Jesse Wilson stand in front of their in-house brewing equipment, which they were able to purchase through the use of a Kickstarter Campaign. Between the campaign, their savings and small investors, the Wilsons were able to open their tasting room in November 2015. Photo by Michelle Beahm
Using the Kickstarter funds, their savings and funds from small investors, the Wilsons were able to start their business without needing any bank loans.
“Which is pretty impressive, really,” Tasha said. “It’s hard to start a business without any loans.”
So they started Lovecraft Brewery. Why Lovecraft? Well, because they’re both “superfans” of H.P. Lovecraft, Tasha said. Lovecraft was an American author whose works in horror, fantasy and science fiction garnered a cult following after his death in 1937.
“Jesse got me hooked. He picked up a couple old, beat-up copies of Lovecraft stories when he was just traveling around Australia and riding on the bus … (he) got really into it and he passed those books onto me.
“We just really liked the stories,” she said. “And it’s a fun play on words, too, for people who don’t know who H.P. Lovecraft is. It’s also a love of craft beer.”
With the exception of one guest tap and one cider tap, every drink they sell is brewed by them in house.
“I love being a part of the production of it and being able to just craft our beer and have it turn out how we want it, and have it turn out good and have customers enjoying it,” Tasha said. “It’s pretty amazing.”
Jesse said the brewing aspect of his job is his favorite. “It’s fun to be hands on, and be able to follow through with a project from start to finish and see the results.”
And those results can be quite impressive. Tasha said their Olde Kitsap Saison sells out so quickly, they can’t even keep it on tap. She said their Innsmouth Porter “has been a really good staple,” since people tend to look for dark beer when visiting new breweries. Their Moon-Beast Rye also sold out right away.
They also sell merchandise, currently only in-store, but they hope to start an online shop soon. Growlers, squealers and clothing tend to sell pretty quickly, as well.
Lovecraft Brewing Company is located on Fifth Street, behind the Norm Dicks Government Center in Bremerton. Photo by Michelle Beahm
So what makes them so popular?
“I think it’s got a really cool ambience in here,” Tasha said. “We try to keep it really friendly and open and conversational, so people can hang out and have a good conversation with their friends, even if there’s live music or something like that going on. And I think we make really good beer, so that’s always a pro.”
Their customers tend to be a mix of regulars and newcomers, as well.
“We get a lot of tourists on weekends,” Tasha said. “A lot of people from Seattle that are just looking to take a boat ride and explore someplace new. Which is really cool; I like being close to the ferry and being a part of this downtown area.”
Lovecraft Brewing Company is open 3-9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 3-10 p.m. Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 2-8 p.m. Sundays, and is closed on Mondays. To learn more about Lovecraft Brewing Company, visit www.lovecraftbrewing.com.