PORT ANGELES — Barhop, meet Dairy Fresh.
There’s little that satisfies a real estate guy more than marrying vacant property with a willing renter.
In the Port of Port Angeles’ case, it’s about Barhop Brewing LLC, which owns a budding downtown Port Angeles bar and brewery business, leasing the port’s substandard, empty building at Airport Business Park, company owner Tom Curry said Tuesday.
“Our intention is to increase our production beyond what we can produce at the current location, and our intention is to expand our wholesale sales within Clallam and Jefferson counties,” he said.
Dairy Fresh, a milk company, had a property lease with the port that was terminated in 2017, reverting the building back to the tax district.
In 2011, Dairy Fresh leased the building out to Twin Peaks Brewing & Malting Co., which has since closed, although that beer company’s name remains on the building.
The success of linking need with opportunity was former realty agency owner and current Port of Port Angeles land-business manager Dan Gase’s message to port commissioners Tuesday.
They approved a three-year lease with Curry’s 124 E. Railroad Ave. beer- and pizza-making company for the 2506 W. 19th St. building for $1,010 a month beginning April 1, or $36,360 for the lease’s duration.
The building is valued at $123,600, according to the county Assessor’s Office.
The pact forgives Curry the standard security deposit of one year’s rent in return for Curry making improvements such as painting the exterior, repairing cooler door seals and cleaning up the interior, which Gase said would likely total less than the initially estimated $3,700.
Barhop Brewing LLC also will be responsible for repairs as well as building, equipment and grounds maintenance at the building, which Gase said was already substandard and had “low marketability.”
Gase said the building fits into the port’s future only in terms of eventually demolishing it to serve the tax district’s long-range planning needs.
“In the meantime, we ran across the right person, Mr. Tom Curry from Barhop Brewing company,” Gase told the commissioners.
“With good fortune, they have the need to produce more beer, and lo and behold, the Dairy Fresh building seems to be a perfect match.”
Curry said Monday that he expects to take occupancy of the building April 1 and for brewmaster Josh Blue of Sequim, former owner of Hop Crew Brewing, to begin brewing beer by May, with a target of filling 15,000 barrels of Barhop Brewing pale ale, porter and Citrasonic IPA by 2019.
Barhop has a contract with Olympic Distributing Co. of Port Angeles under which the company can dispense Barhop beer in Clallam and Jefferson counties, although Curry, a numbers guy and the former Olympic Peninsula Health Care Network CFO, said 91 percent is purchased at Barhop.
“We’re excited about it,” Curry said.
“We feel we have the opportunity to expand our sales market in the keg format and eventually package either bottles or cans.”
Barhop, which employs about 25 people during the peak season and half that during the off-season, expects to hire two full-time workers at the Airport Industrial Park location in 2018 and four by 2020, Curry said.
Curry initially opened Barhop on Laurel Street in 2010, and Barhop Brewing was named Northwest Nano-brewery of the Year for 2011 before moving to larger quarters at Railroad Avenue in 2012.
The company produced 345 barrels in 2017, equal to more than 10,000 gallons, Curry said.
He hopes to increase that more than fourfold to about 15,000 barrels by 2019.
“We sell everything we make,” Curry said.
“We have stronger demand than we have supply.
“That’s why we’re looking at creating a production spot, and addition spot, a spot that can do higher volume.”
He said the business is debt-free, and is not worried about potentially having to vacate the building in 2021.
“I anticipate that in three years, there will be a relocation decision needing to be made,” he said.
That’s one reason that foregoing the security deposit was key to making the deal with the port work.
“It just was not feasible to tie up capital on this lease with the port, in this old building, because the capital we have needs to go into growing the business,” Curry said.
In an ideal world, he added, Barhop will boom so much that it will move on from its union with the dairy building turned brewery.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].