SEQUIM — The owner of Peninsula Taproom wants to add something new to Sequim: a place for craft beer.
Owner Sean O’Neill expects to open Peninsula Taproom, a craft beer bar and bottle shop, early in October.
The business will be at 210 W. Washington St., Suite 4, and is tentatively set to be open from noon to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
O’Neill said when he visited the area from Portland, Ore., about a year ago, he couldn’t believe there wasn’t a brewery or taproom in town.
“Typically when I get to a town, I look for the ‘beer bar’ or craft beer spot or brewery. It’s just what I like to do,” O’Neill said.
He said he tried to look online to find such a business in Sequim but could not find anything.
It wasn’t long after that he decided to open his own business.
“I’ve been working in the Northwest in the craft beer industry for a while now, and every community has a taproom or brewery,” O’Neill said.
An Olympia native, O’Neill has spent the past six years living in Portland working as a part of the Northwest sales team for the Lagunitas Brewing Co., a California-based brewery that has been around for about 25 years and has products available in all 50 states.
When O’Neill decided to open the Taproom in Sequim, he said he bought a house in Agnew, quit his job at Lagunitas and has since been in the process of building his business.
O’Neill said Peninsula Taproom will operate as a rotating tap house with eight taps to start, featuring a variety of local and regional beers, ciders and wine by the glass.
He also will offer packages to go and will fill growlers.
“What I’ll be focusing on is always having a certain style,” O’Neill said.
He said there will always be a certain example or a style of beer such as an IPA, lager, amber or red ale, and the selection will rotate.
His initial lineup of beer selection will be based on beers and brands intimate to him.
“Without my experience at Lagunitas and learning from a great set of mentors, I wouldn’t be doing this,” O’Neill said.
“So I will open the bar with a keg of Lagunitas on draft saying, ‘Thank you.’ ”
O’Neill said the rest of his initial beer selection will be similar, choosing beers that represent relationships, flavors or memories with the people he has met in the craft beer industry as a way of tipping his hat to them.
“I’ll start with a lineup that’s very intimate to me, but then I’m just going to let it do what it needs to do,” O’Neill said.
He also said his rotating selections will follow annual and seasonal trends and he will be open to suggestions.
“I’ll know by listening,” O’Neill said. “It will be a combination of my knowledge, passion and finger on the pulse by listening to what people are saying.”
Opening Peninsula Taproom won’t be O’Neill’s first go at running a small business: He owned and operated a bicycle shop for 12 years in Moab, Utah. He sold that business in 2006.
It was during his time in the bicycle industry that he discovered his passion for craft beer.
“In the bicycle industry there are three things that go hand-in-hand: beer, bikes and coffee,” O’Neill said.
While these are just generalizations, O’Neill said, in his experience these interests intertwine. The bike shop he owned in Utah also had a coffee bar where people could hang out while visiting his shop. O’Neill said he wants to create a similar environment for the Taproom.
“That’s the vibe: Come in and hang out,” O’Neill said. “Imagine it’s a coffee shop atmosphere but we’re serving alcohol and beer instead of coffee.”
The business will feature small and cozy setting with padded bench seating by the front windows, bar seating, small movable tables, a large conference table, 11 outlets with USB connections — for customers to charge cellphones and computers — and possible outside seating.
O’Neill said the space houses an occupancy of about 38 to 40 people. He also said he is excited to offer small snacks and an opportunity for guests to order food to go from restaurants in town and eat it at the Taproom.
“That way, it encourages relationships with other businesses in town,” O’Neill said.
For more information about the Peninsula Taproom, visit https://www. peninsulataproom.com.
Erin Hawkins is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach her at [email protected].