PDX Sliders, a popular food cart is teaming with a startup called Ancestry Brewing to go brick-and-mortar with up to three new taprooms including a brewery all in the Portland area. This fall we may be seeing a lot of the Ancestry Brewing brand as it opens a brewery in Tualatin, with a taproom and satellite locations in the Sellwood neighborhood and another in the works for inner Southeast Portland. Coming out of nowhere, the ambitious start-up has struck up a number of partnerships and put together a respectable team and a family heritage-based branding.
Ancestry Brewing founder, owner, and Head Brewer Jeremy Turner says the taprooms and brewery will focus on “Family-crafted ales and a brewery that will be obsessed with connecting with our customers. We want the family feel to extend from our roots to our staff and customers in our taprooms.” The new brewery may be ambitious, but it’s well-thought-out, from the branding that recalls a classic nautical style that is a call back to Jeremy’s father and brother who were both in the Navy. “Our decor will include some sail cloth, ship lap, navy light fixtures without being gaudy, and–pardon the pun–but not overboard with the ship themed stuff. We are going to keep it pretty industrial and raw with a few of those touches to tie in,” explained Jeremy. Coming from some professional brewing experience at Kulshan Brewing in Bellingham, Washington, Jeremy has a B.S. in Chemistry and MBA. He worked at HP for 7 years and interned with the Portland Venture Group and was an avid homebrewer the whole time before going to Kulshan.
The anchor of Ancestry will be the 10bbl brewery in Tualatin from JVNW and 20bbl fermenters and brite tanks coming in September. The brewery is already being installed in Tualatin with the help of Al Triplett, a 24 year industry veteran from RedHook who has now joined the Ancestry team, along with Trevor Lauman, an OSU Fermentation Sciences grad who later interned at Feckin Brewery. They are also working with Willamette Valley hops and practicing scaling up the homebrew sized pilot batches by brewing at John I. Haas. The brewing style will lean towards standard Americanized English ales like IPA, porter, stout, and pale ales, but each of the four brewers will be able to brew to their own personal taste. For instance, Jeremy is a fan of maltier IPAs, Trevor prefers British style, another brewer prefers aggressively hopped dry beers with bright carbonation. Ancestry is also starting off with a significant barrel-aging program, which already has 40 barrels of new oak, red wine, white wine and Woodford Reserve whiskey ready to go. Initially the beers will have no names, just style designations, but gradually as the brewers decide what to make year round, the beer will be named and join their family tree of beers.
The Ancestry plan for 3 taprooms is ambitious, some might even say highly risky for a brand new brand and unproven team, Jeremy says. “You are totally right, it is a big investment and makes things more difficult as starting up multiple locations day one is risky compared to focusing on executing one well.” However, Jeremy believes the taprooms will allow them a leg up on the competition for three different reasons: it will allow them to connect more directly to the customer and predict trends and movements in the industry, it will allow them to avoid outside distribution and the hurdles that come with it, and it will allow them to better establish their own brand. “The key is so we can establish our brand and will not be at the will of our distributors or bar tenders selling the product and so we can hear directly from the market what they want.”
One of the keys to that branding is pre-filled pressurized growlers with branded caps and hand-written tags with tasting notes and beer stats while the opposite side is a comment card that the customers can turn back in. Further connecting with their customer base, they plan to have homebrew competitions, invite local homebrewing clubs to brew on their RIMS pilot system, and doing barrel room tastings once a quarter.
Ancestry Brewing homebase in Tualatin, Oregon
Ancestry Brewing Taproom in Sellwood
Ancestry’s brewery taproom is off the beaten path but is in a business center located on a wetland and has a decent countryside view. The taproom will have a lounge and five screens. It is located at 20585 SW 115th Avenue in Tualatin, about 2 miles off the freeway. The Sellwood location will be called the Ancestry Taproom and is in a new development at 13th and Umatilla near Sellwood Public House and New Seasons Market. This location will have about 50 seats and multiple TVs and is right off the Springwater bike path. Each location will also take its neighborhood heritage and history into account and all will be family friendly. PDX Sliders, a Sellwood-based food cart, will run the kitchens and in addition to the sliders will be doing larger burger baskets. Each location will have some guest taps, cider, and nitro beers. Still in the works and unconfirmed is Ancestry Brewing – Brooklyn Yard, which is the area by the railroad tracks in Southeast Portland near Gigantic Brewing.
PDX Sliders burger with Ancestry beer
Ancestry Brewing hopes to begin brewing in September and open the taprooms in mid-October of 2015.
Follow the progress on Instagram @AncestryBrewing or their still in construction website http://www.ancestrybrewing.com/