It’s no secret that Seattle loves its breweries and microbrews, but did you know that a number of those breweries are owned and operated by Seattle U alumni? We sat down with three Seattle breweries run by Redhawks to find out what sets them apart from the competition.
Rooftop Brewing Company
1220 W Nickerson St.
Craig Christian and his wife, Jessica Cohen, are graduates of the Seattle University School of Law and co-owners of the Rooftop Brewing Company. While an avid home brewer for years, Craig never expected to be a brewery owner. “I was in law school with plans to go into environmental law or work for a non-profit,” Craig shared. A desire to stay in Seattle and go into business for himself was the spark that would become Rooftop Brewing Company.
“The Seattle brewing community is amazing and incredible – it’s a group that is fun to be around and great to be a part of. Owning and running a business is something I never knew I’d enjoy and be good at, but driving the creative process and watching it take shape has been great,” Craig shared, “We make a great beer and have a great variety available at all times of the year for people to enjoy.”
Rooftop Brewing Company got its start in 2012, but this year marks their first anniversary in their current space. You’ll often find Craig behind the bar serving beer, while Jessica, a full-time lawyer, helps with the business end of things.
When asked what sets Rooftop Brewing Company apart, Craig said, “We have the greatest rooftop deck in all of Seattle – a lot of people really enjoy sitting outside. In all seasons people can be outside dry and warm and enjoying the view.” Jessica says it’s the beer that sets them apart, “Craig and his team brew a really good product.”
Both Craig and Jessica hope to partner more with Seattle University and continue to host events for alumni groups. They hosted an SU Bridge Young Alumni Happy Hour last year.
Peddler Brewing Company
1514 NW Leary Way
Haley Woods Keller was a math teacher with a desire to open her own customer service business. She had thoughts of opening a bookstore, but her then boyfriend’s (now husband) 10-year passion for brewing led them to open Peddler Brewing Company.
Peddler Brewing Company is a bicycle-themed bar. “We have a very big bike community following and we want to bridge the gap between all the different types of cyclists—those who are commuters, the weekend warriors, those who ride for fun. We want to build a larger bicycle community in the area.” Peddler aims to be a place that is comfortable to ride your bike to complete with indoor bike parking. The brewery hosts a number of events including a pun slam, trivia nights and outdoor movies.
Haley’s Jesuit education plays a major role in her business. “Working to create a more just and humane world were part of my goals for Peddler. I want a successful company that is connected to the community and to give back every way we can. That really brings me joy on the job,” Haley said. Peddler partners with a number of non-profits in an effort to give back to the community. “Through this process I’ve been introduced to a number of new non-profits and I’ve gotten more involved, which is really cool,” Haley shared.
“My liberal arts education at Seattle University required that I take a number of classes outside of my area of study. I never thought I’d be using the accounting and finance classes I took and now I use those skills all the time.”
Haley didn’t only attend Seattle U, she also participated in Magis’ Contemplative Leaders in Action program. The people that she met through that program were a big support as she opened the brewery and many of them went on to be her co-workers at Peddler.
“One of the things I enjoy the most is tackling the challenges that come up and how each day I get to do something different. I love that I get to choose the people I work with,” Haley said.
We asked her if she has a favorite among her brews. “Tangerine Hefeweizen is one that I just love – it’s one of the few recipes that was my idea. It’s so good and refreshing and great all year round.”
Haley made sure to give a shout out to their outdoor event space that can currently hold up to 400 people and is in the process of being winterized so it can be enjoyed year round. So the next time you find yourself peddling your bike, stop by Peddler Brewery for a cold one.
Naked City Brewery & Tap House
8564 Greenwood Ave N
What do you call a poet, teacher and creative writer? The co-owner of Naked City Brewery and Tap House. Bryan Miller was a Sullivan Scholar and a Creative Writing major at Seattle University. After graduation he moved to New York City where he was a writer and teacher for over a decade. His role of writer translated well to the marketing field and eventually he became a business consultant. Helping clients grow their brands inspired Bryan to want to grow his own.
He connected with two friends back in Seattle who were in the process of opening a brewery and asked if he could join the “brewery party.” Not only did he apply his skills as a business consultant to help Naked City Brewery and Tap House grow its brand, but he helped his buddies physically build the space as well.
Naked City is mostly a restaurant space holding up to 250 people. “There was definitely a big learning curve to running a restaurant, but it’s great,” Bryan said. “It’s like running an emergency room with nothing at stake.”
According to Bryan, what makes Naked City unique is that it was modeled after the Public House. “The public house is an institution that goes way back all the way to the New England colonies. They had two public buildings—the church and the public house,” Bryan shared. Naked City has embraced its role as community meeting place and aims to be a place of culture and conversation.
They partner with KUOW and Humanities of WA to host “Think and Drink,” cultural programming, Opera on Tap, a wide variety of charity events and more. Naked City has twenty house beers on tap and 20 rotating guest beers. “There’s always something fresh and new to try.”
On October 22, Naked City is celebrating its 8th anniversary with an all-day celebration. Bryan invites the alumni community to join the festivities.
Seattle University alumni have contributed to the vibrant brewing scene with some stand out establishments, but you don’t need to take our word for it. Go out and try them for yourselves.