Brewery. Neighborhood. Bonds.
BREWERY. NEIGHBORHOOD. BONDS.
We're in the fabric of the community in such a way that people are going to have lasting memories.
Ben Lukes, a proud Missoula, Montana native never thought he’d wind up in Spokane, Washington brewing beer for a living. Ben graduated with a photojournalism degree but wasn’t getting the opportunities he had hoped for. “I was just living out in Portland and was working at a little paper out there. I wasn’t really getting too far and not trying too hard either. I was more into running around Portland and trying all the delicious beer that was there." He laughed.
Yet, it wasn’t until a backyard barbecue that he realized he could choose a much different path than what he originally set out to do. "One of my good friends told me that he found this online course, this 6-month science and engineering course, and he got an internship at Laurelwood Brewing and I was like 'Woah! You can just do that? And have a job?' So I was like, 'I want to do that too!'"
After enrolling and finishing the 6-month science and engineering course for beer brewing, Ben was able to land a coveted internship at Big Sky Brewing in his hometown of Missoula. From there he continued to work his way into cellaring to brewing and eventually became a leader in the lab and quality control. Ben knew he found his passion yet there was just something missing. He loved the atmosphere of all the local breweries in Portland and decided to leave his first brewing job to explore opening a small brewery of his own.
"Eventually my wife and I moved back to Spokane. I felt that Spokane was about a decade behind from Seattle and Portland and there were just a couple of breweries going on here. We thought, what better place to try it.” He glanced at his wife, Christy, and smiled before continuing. “All the best grain in the world comes from all around us: Montana, Idaho, Washington. The best hops in the world come from Yakima which is only three hours away."
They found a place on the corner nestled in Spokane’s Perry District and began construction on their first small brewery. “We were able to make it happen over the next year. We got to design the building with our landlord. Got to get a corner spot on what I think is the best place to be in Spokane. I just love it. The walkability, the farmers market, the shops, the restaurants. But it still feels cozy.” Ben reminisced on why he made the decisions that he did.
Ben and his wife opened Perry Street Brewing in March of 2014 and are just about to hit the five year mark. They both say that the community really embraced them and were able to experience some early success. Success that has affected everyone in the neighborhood. “One of the things that we love the most is that beer connects all these people together. People are getting engaged on the patio. All these people are creating these life memories in our little taproom. It's awesome to think about. We're in the fabric of the community in such a way that people are going to have lasting memories of what happened at our place with their friends, their family, moments in time.”
Even though Ben worked long and hard with minimal small business experience, he says he could never go back to a normal job. “Without the passion, I don't know if we would have been as successful. I don't know if those 80 hour weeks that I was pulling all those years would have turned out the same way if, at the end of the day, I wasn't pouring myself a deliciously, hoppy, and fresh craft beer.”