Week 179 - E9 Brewing Co
For the 179th week of "7 QUESTION SUNDAY" we shine the spotlight on another influential individual from the PNW. Donovan Stewart is the Sales & Marketing Director of E9 Brewing Co. the first craft brewery in Tacoma.
4EVRGRN: Hey, AG! Tell us a little about yourselves.
DS: I started working for E9 back in the summer of 2014, fresh out of the CWU Brewing Certificate program in Ellensburg. Started out doing all of the great grunt jobs you do when you are the lowest rung of the ladder, of course there was only head brewer Shane Johns and I back then. As the job progressed I slowly got a chance to start actually brewing on the old system and began some recipe formulation including the aptly named 'Don of Time' NW Pale Ale. As our barrel program of mixed culture saisons and sours grew we began working with an out of state distribution company and I was given the chance to travel a bit to some festivals and markets outside of Washington to spread the gospel of E9. We also started ramping up our sales within Washington with whatever beer we had that wasn't being consumed next door at the historic Engine House #9 Restaurant and Pub. It finally came time to expand and in the end of 2018 we broke ground on the current brewery space and taproom. It was at this point that we realized that we needed someone to spearhead the sales and marketing side as we were about to have a lot more beer than we ever had, so I shifted completely into that role. Aside from the little speed bump of the GLOBAL PANDEMIC we have been rolling full steam ever since. We currently have beer throughout the West Coast from British Columbia to Idaho, Oregon and California. We have had beer from North Carolina to New York and have sent beer to Japan and South Korea and have had great feedback from around the country thanks to Tavour's online sales.
Most popular brew?
DS: Tacoma Brew! A traditional Northern-German style Kolsch Ale. Super light and delicious, it is one of the best sellers in the taproom and really showcases our love of Tacoma and the rich brewing history from the early pioneers in Tacoma.
Most popular food item?
DS: Pizza Pizza Pizza!! We worked really hard developing our special homemade dough that incorporates a small amount of our beer yeast. Our chef comes up with an amazing weekly special pizza that is usually a huge hit. The best selling regular menu pizza is the Radiator.
What makes PNW beer/brewery culture so unique?
DS: We have some of the oldest craft breweries in the nation, much like E9, the oldest craft brewery in Tacoma. The close proximity to the Yakima valley where over 75% of the hops in American beer is grown might have something to do with it as well!
What makes E9 brewing Co so special?
DS: Being Tacoma's first craft brewery we have worked hard to set an example of what a small hometown brewery could accomplish in a super competitive craft beer market in the Northwest. We feel our beer is some of the best being produced currently and I think it shows with the success we have had in our own taproom, in Tacoma, around Washington state and throughout the world.
How fun is it to offer dog friendly eateries?
DS: We love dogs! There aren't many places to go to enjoy good food and drink that are set up like our taproom. The openness and vibe are perfect for the fur-buddies.
You guys do a great job showcasing PNW history, why is that an important part of your brand?
DS: This Grit City. We have worked very hard to survive in the ever changing craft beer market and we turn 28 years old this year! The Engine House restaurant has been around since the 1970's and is a huge part of our origin story. Since 1995 when the brewery began the beer has changed dramatically but we have managed to stay afloat and thrive not only in our local market but in many parts of the US, Canada and even as far as Japan and South Korea!
You’ve done some cool collaborations, what’s your favorite local product?
DS: By far our favorite collaborations have been with our friends at Holy Mountain Brewing in Seattle. They are long time friends from before they opened but we are like minded brewers and our 'Five of Swords' and 'Tiny Swords' yearly IPA collaborations are always delicious. We have just finished another collaboration with our friends at Fast Fashion Brewing, a new brewery in Seattle that was born out of the Masonry restaurants and our partners in crime of pizza and beer!
Visit the E9 Brewing Co & Taproom at 2506 Fawcett Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402