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Northwest Brewers Supply: Good move for father-son team

Jan 5th, 2014 | Category: Community

by Jessamyn Tuttle

It doesn’t take long with Northwest Brewers Supply owners Larry Lawrence and his son Trevor for some of their enthusiasm to rub off on you. After a single visit to their Burlington shop full of jars, corks, mysterious gadgets and vats, you may find yourself wanting to set up a brewing operation in your own garage or basement.

Larry was once a customer of the original Northwest Brewers Supply in Anacortes, having been into home brewing since the mid 80s (“before brewing was cool,” as Trevor commented). He bought all his supplies from the business, but was often frustrated that the owners didn’t observe their own posted hours. His own job had recently been downsized, and without quite knowing he was going to, he found himself asking if the owner would be willing to sell.

After buying the brewer’s supply in 2000, it was slow going for a while. “The first years I lived like a church mouse and put all the profits back into the business.” But his persistence in keeping regular hours and never missing a day of work paid off. In 2005 he moved from the original location next to the Anacortes Brewery to another space two blocks south, then moved again in 2013 to a much larger building in Burlington.

Larry Lawrence and his son Trevor operate Northwest Brewers Supply, offering various brewmaking supplies.  PHOTO BY JESSAMYN TUTTLE

Larry Lawrence and his son Trevor operate Northwest Brewers Supply, offering various brewmaking supplies.

They now have customer parking, can receive commercial deliveries much more easily, and have room for more extensive inventory as well as monthly brewing classes. The decision to move was also influenced by the fact that they get customers from all along the I-5 corridor, from the Canadian border down to Stanwood, and being right off the freeway is far more convenient.

Trevor came on board as co-owner three years ago. “I thought he’d lighten the load, but he brought a whole new generation in with him,” said his father. Trevor’s background is in cooking, but he found that brewing is a natural extension of being good in the kitchen. Larry and Trevor hold 50/50 shares in the business at the moment, but Larry intends to gradually ease out and hand the reins over to his more energetic son. He’s not in a huge rush to leave the business, though. “I really enjoy coming in here,” he said. “There’s not too many people who come in that door without a smile on their face.”

The shop sells (or can order) all the equipment and ingredients needed for home brewing. A beginner’s brewing kit gets you started on your first first gallons of beer, minus a kettle and whatever bottles or kegging equipment might be needed. It doesn’t have to be a major time commitment to get started, Larry said. Two hours is all the hands-on time you need for a batch. From brewing to drinking takes only 12 days if you keg it, 28 days if you bottle. “Every time you brew you get better.”

They also sell wine kits, which provide everything you need to make 30 bottles of wine. “Wine kits can outdo a lot of what you buy in the store,” said Larry, noting it’s so easy all skill levels can do it.

The Lawrences make a point of being available at any time for customer advice and assistance. “There are no stupid questions,” said Larry. “We’re there to help you make good beer and wine.” He notes that while YouTube videos are incredibly helpful for new brewers they don’t always explain why you should follow certain steps. “I want to know why I’m doing something. Trevor and I pride ourselves on explaining that stuff. If you know what’s happening you can change things. That’s when it gets interesting.”

Stop by Northwest Brewers Supply at 940 Spruce Street in Burlington or call 1-800-460-7095 or (360) 293-0424. For more information, visit www.nwbrewers.com. 


Published in the January 2014 issue of Grow Northwest

One Comment to “Northwest Brewers Supply: Good move for father-son team”

  1. Rex DuPuis says:

    Bob Dussault emailed this info to me – I live in Oak Harbor but will make the drive to Burlington to visit your store and gleen from your knowledge.

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