Pierce County is home to businesses large and small and all are appreciated for their contribution to the County’s economic well-being. The Pierce County Economic Development Department and its partners work together to encourage and assist small, entrepreneurial firms to thrive and grow. In each newsletter, we feature one of these companies.
Wet Coast Brewing Company
Pierce County continues to be a leader in producing not only excellent beers, wines, ciders, and spirits, but also the entrepreneurs whose hard work and long hours make that happen. Founded by owners Bryan & Molly Copeland and Aaron & April Johnson, the newly opened Wet Coast Brewing Company in Gig Harbor continues in that tradition. Several ‘what if?’ conversations started between friends five years ago and jelled into firmer plans eventually producing a three-year business plan and launching a building process that resulted in the oddly named brewery. Wet Coast Brewing opened its door to the public on June 19, 2015. (The history of the name can be found on their website.)
This business dream was funded by the owners' savings from their full time jobs, a USDA Small Business Loan won with the help of Evergreen Business Capital, and a Kickstarter funding campaign. The Kickstarter funding campaign sought $15,000 from community participants but much to the owners' surprise, raised almost $20,000! Participants in the funding campaign vied for the chance to name seats in the taproom and even to help brew their favorite beer! (This beer, a so far un-named porter, will be available in the taproom on November 21.)
Wet Coast is a true boutique brewery. Small in scale, the company currently only produces kegs of beer sold to local taprooms and taverns. This will likely change if its current success continues. The current brewery space was selected in part because it allows for a threefold expansion. But for now, the smallness allows for continuous innovation and improvement. Beer rotation is part of the plan. This past fall “Soppin Wet Mosaic” was brewed using fresh hops from Yakima and went from harvest to brewing kettle in 24 hours. It became the best selling beer of the season. New recipes are tried out and old ones improved as the owners strive for perfection and customer satisfaction.
Bryan and Aaron, full time fire fighters with West Piece Fire and Rescue, handle the brewing and outside sales and deliveries while their spouses, Molly and April, work to balance their respective households, full-time careers, and various roles they are tasked with at the brewery. Wet Coast employs three people who have been on the team almost from the beginning.
Although only serving beer and cider for the past few months, Wet Coast is taking its place alongside the other great breweries of Pierce County.