One of the newest craft breweries in Washington is Beach Cat Brewing, located in the little coastal town of Birch Bay. Owner and head brewer Darin Hamm, like many craft makers, started out home brewing more than 20 years ago. He honed his craft in an effort to save money, finding out he could make beer at home for less than he could buy it at a store.
Beach Cat opened in late August and operates on a small-scale, nano-brewery production of one barrel, or 31 gallons, at a time. While overall production is roughly 12 to 14 barrels a month, canning is accomplished filling one 16.9-ounce can at a time on a single canner machine. The only place you can enjoy their beers is at their tasting room or purchase a few to take home.
1. What is a Beach Cat? How did that influence your branding with the colors and artwork?
Beach Cat is the main character in our marketing and branding. My business partner Jake came to me with the concept already put together and I adore it. The colors blue and yellow very much represent the blue water and sandy beach. Other characters have been developed that really match the styles of beer they represent along with some detailed artwork on each label. For example, Calico Jack Porter, SMASH Cat, Beach Blonde, Munchkin Red and others. You just need to see the labels to appreciate the details!
2. Can You Tell me why the three C’s: Collaboration, Community and Craft Beer are so important to your company?
The three C’s of our company are the morals that we stand by. The beer industry is filled with vast majority of awesome people wanting to see other succeed. The collaboration that comes from other breweries makes for an amazing community. Each brewery, including ourselves strives to be as community focused and uplifting as possible. We host charity fund raisers, donation events and try to give back in every way possible. The final C is craft beer, which at the end of the day is the great equalizer for collaboration and community. People who love craft beer and love to help people make for a pretty awesome industry to be a part of.
3. Pretty ballsy opening a new business in the middle of a pandemic and the end of high season in a beach town. Why didn’t you delay opening?
Delaying opening wasn’t really an option. We were done with construction, brewing beer and the folks of Birch Bay asked daily “when are you opening”!?!? When we started we had barely heard of COVID-19. We had no idea what it would become. Once we made those initial investments there wasn’t much desire to stop or delay. We figured by the time we were done it would be over. Now we are learning how to make it work like everyone else. What I have noticed is that Covid-19 has not reduced anyone’s thirst for craft beer!
4. What are your favorite tunes to jam to while crafting your beer?
My taste in music is pretty wide so I like to mix it up. But if forced to choose I’d put on some good solid Hard Rock!