Industry News

New Final Draft Taphouse in Vancouver Tells a Story

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Every story told with words starts in a rough draft. Then it undergoes various levels of edits or re-drafts. Only when the writer, editor and publisher is happy with the finished piece does it become the Final Draft.

This story is no different.

KIMBERLY’S STORY

Kimberly G. Johnson grew up in Minnesota. After attending the University of Minnesota for journalism, she set out in the corporate world working in PR and Internal Communications within a large corporation. She lived and worked in that world for 10 years. “I loved the work, but hated the politics,” Kimberly shared.

Always an entrepreneur at heart, Kimberly moved west to pursue her dream of being a full-time entrepreneur. Her sister was here in the Pacific Northwest and Kimberly loved the idea of moving to an area with so much natural wonder nearby. And also, so much great beer!

Many may be familiar with Kimberly’s more well-known online moniker, @ABVgirl. Her super-active Instagram and Twitter accounts have been a staple in the Portland area beer community for a while. It’s not uncommon to hear whispers around a local pub where Kimberly is enjoying a beer; “Is that ABV Girl?” The ABV stands for Adventures, Brews & Views. It started as a passion project to share about her outdoor activities and the beer she enjoys before, during and after these adventures.

“Beer is always an adventure. That’s what I love about it,” reminisced Kimberly. “I’ve always said, ‘Live boldly and adventurously.’ You can do that with beer.”

The blog and accompanying social media flew open doors for her in the industry. She’s had the opportunity to work for great breweries like Fat Head’s, Deschutes and, most recently, Ex Novo.

MIKE’S STORY

Mike Bolt grew up in Vancouver, WA. After graduating from Columbia River HS, he tossed back and forth between attending Oregon State University or University of Montana. In the end, his love for skiing led him to Missoula, MT. A college town on the way to nowhere in particular, Mike found a spot called The Iron Horse where he enjoyed $5 pitchers of Moose Drool and Fat Tire. But there’s one particular pint of beer he remembers vividly.

“That was the moment,” Mike said. “That’s where I fell in love with beer. Beer wasn’t just beer anymore.”

It was a pint of Bayern Brewing’s Dopplebock. It was winter in Montana and Mike recalled looking around the room and realizing that beer was the only reason people had come together. There was no major sporting event, no concert, no special night at all. “People were having a great time and they were just there for beer,” he said.

Mike moved back to the Portland area in 2008 with beer on the brain. He could pursue a career in contracting or beer. He choose beer. The first open door was to distribute wine. That led to a warehouse gig with Columbia Distributing and then the ball started rolling. He spent time as a rep at Portland Cider Co with great success. Most recently, he was with Oregon City Brewing and Fortside Brewing where he really found himself becoming part of a larger beer family. Mike shared that working with customers directly at OCB and Fortside took him back to that pint of Bayern Dopplebock and in his words, “I freaking love it!”

TWO STORIES COLLIDE

Mike and Kimberly met at Ex Novo. Mike came in while Kimberly was working, but if she’d have been anymore ill she may have not been at work that day. She told a co-worker in the brewery that she’d taken an interest in the guy visiting with her.

They thought back to their first dates: “We were chasing freshies,” Kimberly exclaimed. It was fresh hop season and one of those first days together included Fresh Hop fest in Hood River, OR.

Beer had brought their stories together.

Things developed from sniffing and sipping craft beers to asking themselves, “What are we doing with our lives? Where do we go from here?”

Mike recalled, “Thanksgiving 2015 was the day we realized we’re gonna do this!”

THE FINAL DRAFT

Kimberly and Mike are about to open a new taproom in Vancouver, WA. You might ask yourself, “Why did I need this couple’s life story to finally learn this?!” Well, because stories are important to Kimberly and Mike and this is where their story has brought them. They hope you’ll visit and share your story, too.

Final Draft Taphouse is about story telling. You’ll find a bookcase full of inspirational reading material and other assorted items to inspire creativity to tell your own story. Read a book. Pick up one of a couple ukuleles and pick out a tune. Start a journal. Strike up a conversation. Grab a Polaroid camera, snap a pic and shake it like it’s 1989. You may even be able to submit your own beer story to their website to be featured.

Kimberly is passionate: “We love sharing stories. We know not everyone wants to share and we respect that. But we want to create a space where people can share if they want to.”

Mike jumps right in: “I’d rather work 60-70 hours a week in beer than anywhere else. This is where I want to be – behind the bar talking to people over beer. Beer is about them. It’s about people. Without people, this scene doesn’t exist.”

Final Draft Taphouse is located at Chkalov and Mill Plain behind one of Washington State’s top-grossing Starbucks locations. It’s the busiest intersection in Clark County according to several county reports in 2016 with over 83,000 vehicles using the intersection per day. The taphouse is beautiful. The bar is being built by Mike with Deodar Cedar – a wood native to the Himalayas. The 4-top and 6-top tables are black walnut. The direct-draw tap system features 30 taps that they intend to fill with local Vancouver beer, Portland & Seattle beer and beers from beyond – in that order. At least to start.

“We want to listen to the customer,” Kimberly said. “We also want to work hard to support the beer community.”

“Beer is extremely powerful,” Mike interjected. “It’s amazing to see what it’s done to Vancouver. Everyone (in the beer scene) is so awesome. I went with my dad to Hazel Dell Brewpub when I was 21. It was the only thing in town. Now look! 12? 13 breweries now? So rad!”

 

THE END{?}

It’s only the beginning according to Kimberly. “Our story has been wild to finally be here. This may not be our final chapter, but this is the Final Draft of our story where everything has fallen into place so perfectly.”

“Mike still drinks that Bayern Dopplebock, by the way.”

“Oh, damn! Yeah! I drink it by the 6-pack all the time!”

– – –

Final Draft Taphouse plans to open it’s doors softly in early-July with a grand opening event later that month.

Michael Perozzo is a life-long resident of Southwest Washington and a beer-loving father of 4. At his day job, he leads a digital marketing team supporting food/beverage clients at ZZoom Media. Michael helped start Brewcouver – the passport to Vancouver’s breweries – and co-founded North Bank Beer Week. Portland Trail Blazers fans may remember him as DarthBlazer.

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