When Tyson Crudup and Ben Grogan met each other while working at Yakima Chief Hops a few years ago, little did they know at the time they would eventually become business partners.
This fall, the men expect to open Sage Brewing Co. at 8425 Chapel Hill Blvd.
And it’ll be the culmination of a dream the two have had for a few years.
Crudup, 43, started out home brewing beer. He even owned Walla Walla Brewery for a while.
“I also worked in the wine industry for a while,” he said.
He recently resigned from Yakima Chief Hops to become a full-time co-owner of Sage Brewing.
Ben Grogan, 31, who worked as an engineer for Boeing for seven years, grew tired of the traffic and wanted to get out of the Seattle area. So the Ellensburg native got a job working at Yakima Chief, where he met Crudup.
They both found a mutual interest in beer.
“It’s such a simple thing,” Grogan said. “People enjoy beer so much that it drives a sense of community. Beer accompanies all of the good moments in our life.”
The two live near each other in the south Richland area.
“Ben would come over, and we started brewing beer for the last two years,” Crudup said.
Grogan was amazed at what Crudup could create.
“Everything this guy makes is pure gold,” Grogan said. “His recipe development is pure art.”
Soon, the idea about starting up their own brewery formed.
“We started moving this way in October of 2018,” Grogan said. “We incorporated in December, became fully funded in March (with private loans).”
And then they spent four months looking for a location.
“We did market research and realized there is more of a need here in Pasco for a brewery,” Grogan said.
Crudup agreed: “A town the size of Pasco, there should be at least three breweries here. We’re an hour from the Yakima Valley, the mecca of Pacific Northwest hops.”
The owners are looking at a late October opening. They’re awaiting the completion of two bays in a new business development on Chapel Hill Drive. They’ll be in suite B102.
The building owner is Yesmar Properties LLC, owned by John and D’Ann Ramsey of Pasco, who also own Broadmoor RV.
W McKay Construction of Kennewick is the general contractor.
Crudup is the brewmaster and will manage the brewery. Grogan will handle the books and office.
As they get the required paperwork completed to launch their new venture, they’re working on recipes.
“We get feedback from friends and family,” Grogan said.
They plan to do a good variety of beers.
“Multiple IPAs, with hop-fed pales,” Crudup said. “We also plan some easy-drinking lighter beers.”
Grogan expects them to be supporters of local businesses.
“One thing we are also interested in is local. We’re able to trace every ingredient we use to local farmers,” he said.
There will be 12 taps. And they expect to have five-barrel tanks in the building, which would make 10 kegs per barrel.
The 3,000-square-foot facility also will house four fermenters.
They will not serve food.
The two are almost giddy to see their mutual dream come true. As construction work continues, they can see the progress.
Crudup loved his time as an owner of the Walla Walla brewery. It just happened during a bad economic time, in 2008-09.
But being able to make beer has always been his love.
“The best part about brewing is all the stories you have of how you got to this beer, with a tweak here and a tweak there,” Crudup said. “I love IPAs, hops, Simcoe hops. There is something about making an IPA that is done well, and a person tastes it and says, ‘Man, I would drink that!’
“There is a fascinating history of beer, and how far back it goes. I love to look at the recipes, and think about why they did what they did. It’s a journey through history itself.”
Now, Crudup and Grogan are ready to make their own history.
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