The craft brewing industry in Seattle and indeed across the nation owes a lot to the dedicated efforts of Charles and Rose Ann Finkel. After a chance meeting at a wine tasting in 1968, Charles and Rose Ann teamed up and founded Bon Vin, America’s first boutique wine distributor. A few years later, in 1974, Charles and Rose Ann Finkel sold Bon Vin to the owners of the St. Michelle Winery and moved to Seattle.
In 1978 there were only 40 breweries in the entire United States, and every one of those breweries but one were using corn syrup, rice and other fillers and adjuncts in their beers. Unfortunately, that also included most of the small, independent brewers, many of which Charles visited, dismayed to discover they they were copying the ‘big boys’ in their methods as well as their sub-par ingredients. That’s not what the Finkels were looking for. So Charles and Rose Ann founded a second importing company to bring in more of the authentic beers they craved from Europe. In the years that followed, the Finkels became the exclusive agents for such beers as Orval, Samuel Smith, Traquair House, Ayinger, Lindemans and several others. At the same time, they set out to educate the American beer drinker about the classic and authentic styles these breweries put out, and encouraged independent American brewers to do better.
Then, after years taking about creating their own brewery, the Finkels purchased the Liberty Malt Supply Company in 1989 (where Charles had worked years earlier) and, later that year, Pike Brewing Company was born. The rest, as they say, is history.
Pike has had a number of head brewers over the years, starting out with Head Brewer Jason Parker in 1989 (Jason is now with Copperworks Distilling), followed by Fal Allen (now with Anderson Valley Brewing Company). Other Head Brewers who have been at Pike over the years include: Dick Cantwell (now with Elysian Brewing), Kevin Forhan (now with the RAM Restaurant and Brewery), Bill Jenkins (also with RAM), Kim Brusco (now with Pyramid Brewing), Janelle Pritchard (now with Spinnaker Bay Brewing), Manny Chao (now with Georgetown Brewing), Larry Rock (now with Click Distributing), Drew Cluley (now with Beardslee Public House), Skip Madsen (now with American Brewing Company), Shawn Loring (now with Lazy Boy Brewing), Frank Helderman (now with Terminal Gravity Brewing) , Geoff Deman (now with Free State Brewing), Dean Priebe (now with Icicle Brewing), and current Head Brewer, Dean Mochizuki. That’s an impressive list of great brewing talent and, as you can see, all of Pike’s former head brewers are still involved in the beverage industry. In fact, most of them are still brewers.
It’s been a long journey, and now Pike Brewing Company is gearing up to celebrate their 25th Anniversary this coming Friday, October 17th. It will be quite a party, starting out at 5:30 PM with “The World’s Shortest Non-Motorized Uphill Parade” – a re-enactment of the trip the very first keg of Pike Brewing Company beer took from the original brewery space at 1432 Western Avenue to Cutter’s Bay House, two blocks away. The re-enactment will start out at Copperworks Distillery on Alaskan Way and end two blocks away, at Pike Brewing’s Post Alley entrance. The celebration will continue at Pike Brewing until 10:00 PM.
As a special treat, current Head Brewer, Dean Mochizuki, has teamed up with several of Pike’s former Head Brewers to collaborate on a special reunion beer for the 25th Anniversary Celebration.
Here are a few more details about the celebration from Pike Brewing Company:
- Food Stations: Featuring dishes using ingredients sourced from some of our favorite vendors.
- Pike’s Naughty Nellie Room
- Pike’s Microbrewery Museum
- Pike Brewery
- John Farias wheels the first keg of Pike Pale Ale uphill from Pike Brewery to Cutter’s.
- Oysters and Stout: New Oyster Bar opens that evening in Pike’s Front Bar!
- Music: Musical acts throughout the Pub and Brewery
- Special Beer:
- Pike Reunion, Alumni Collaboration Brew
- Pike Entire: Aged in Dry Fly wheat whiskey barrels
- Pike Wood-Aged Kilt Lifter aged in Oola whiskey barrel
- All available Pike Beers at Pike’s Main Bar and Pike’s Museum Bar
- Special Cask Beers from Alumni Brewer
- Each guest will receive a special commemorative gift.
This is one party you don’t want to miss. The event is expected to sell out, so don’t delay. Get your tickets today at Brown Paper Tickets. I’ll see you this Friday at Pike Brewing Company.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.