The neighborhood pub and kid-friendly brewery is not a new concept—something that might be surprising to many. In the days before prohibition, communities big and small and all across the country would have places for all in the community to gather. These neighborhood “pubs” weren’t just a place for the working class to go after work for a drink but, in many cases, became the focal point for gatherings, events, political discourse and bringing neighbors together. Many brewed their own beer on-site; styles passed down from immigrant families.
Prohibition was a devastating blow to these pubs and, after the repeal, they never quite recovered, and until recently, neither did the creativity in the beer.
For decades American’s choices were mostly straw-yellow pilsners and light lagers. In the ‘80s, a few brave brewers on each coast started pushing nearly forgotten styles, colors and flavors onto consumers, and the craft beer resurgence would begin to spread.
Today you walk the aisles of the grocery store and the choices seem endless—something we didn’t see even 15 years ago. Many brewers have tasting rooms on-site where they invite people to gather around food, drink and games, even welcoming kids and, in many cases, dogs as well. The neighborhood pub concept is making a return, and Gig Harbor’s most recognizable brewery is readying its newest location to do just that.
Plans are continuing to take shape on 7 Seas Brewing’s downtown waterfront location, which is scheduled to open late next year. Started in 2009, the brewery has grown tremendously from its original 1,500-square-foot location to its two brewhouse and taproom locations in Gig Harbor and Tacoma.
With the long-term future of its current Gig Harbor site in question, the company knew they needed to find a more permanent home.
“We knew that there would be future redevelopment of our current site in Gig Harbor at some point,” said Natasha Weiss, brand communications and social marketing director. “We wanted to be sure to secure a site ahead of time and ideally one that reflected our brand.”
When deciding on a possible location, 7 Seas looked all over town and even outside areas in a more rural setting, but when the waterfront opportunity came along, it was too good to pass up. Co-owner Mike Runion is especially excited to build a waterfront location in the community he’s called home for 27 years.
“Gig Harbor will always be home to 7 Seas Brewing, and we couldn’t be more excited to create a new home—a true representation of 7 Seas’ brand—on the Gig Harbor waterfront,” he said. “With an explosion of growth and big box chains in Gig Harbor these past years, we are thrilled to be a homegrown business, started by Peninsula natives, investing back into our community and creating a unique destination for many years and beers to come.”
At the site near the mouth of the harbor, guests will enjoy excellent views of Gig Harbor, Mount Rainier and the waterfront.
“The building will take inspiration from the net sheds of Gig Harbor,” said Weiss. “The interior will mostly reflect our current operations in Gig Harbor including a small R&D (research and development) brewery, family friendly taproom and event space.”
7 Seas took customer feedback on the design and came to the decision to have both a 21-plus area and an area reserved for families with children.
“We have families of our own and truly believe that beer is best shared responsibly with friends and family,” said Weiss.
With a location directly on the water, boaters, kayakers and paddleboarders will find plenty of spaces to pull up and park after a day on the water and a patio to enjoy a 7 Seas beer. Similar to their current operations in Gig Harbor, 7 Seas’ taproom won’t serve food, however, customers are encouraged to bring in their own or order from local restaurants to enjoy on-site.
While the building will be new, much of the theme from the current tasting room will carry over into the new one. There are a few noticeable changes that should be a benefit to all. There is considerably more parking space to be found at the new location, and fresh landscaping will brighten up the exterior.
“For those that miss our original ‘NW Beer Garden’ aesthetic of our original location, we look forward to returning to that atmosphere,” said Weiss.
The waterfront location will also include an attached events space. While capacity is still not finalized, the space will be used for company and birthday parties, music and social gatherings, even wedding receptions. Having a multi-use space run by locals is something Mayor Kit Kuhn is proud to see happening.
“The City of Gig Harbor is excited with the vision that 7 Seas is working toward. 7 Seas Brewing and their staff continue to be a great asset to our harbor, and we are sure this project will further their positive contributions to the fabric of our community,” he said.
What started as two friends and a small business has now blossomed into 30 employees working to get their award-winning beers not just to Gig Harbor residents but those all around the Northwest. 7 Seas Brewing offers eight year-round beers, vintage and seasonal ales, and special series you’ll only find available at the taprooms. The research and development is ongoing, so you will always find something new and exciting alongside your go-to favorites.
While 7 Seas continues to expand its brand awareness outward, they recognize that the support they initially and continually receive from the Gig Harbor community is what allows them to continue to grow for the better.
“Any business has to make many steps over its life, and we are excited to finally have the opportunity to create an atmosphere inside and outside that reflects our vision and brand,” said Weiss.
With roots deep in the community and the new waterfront building soon a reality, 7 Seas is happy to continue to make Gig Harbor its home and to provide a space where everyone can meet, gather, dine, drink, discuss and celebrate.
“We are so fortunate and beyond thankful to have such amazing support from our community over these past 10 years,” she adds. “We are overjoyed to create a long-term space for our communities to gather, connect and experience.”
7 Seas Brewing hopes to provide construction and estimated grand opening announcements until completion. For the latest information, visit 7SeasBrewing.com, follow them on social media or stop by one of their tasting rooms.