Libations are universal, no doubt about that. But they all began, at some point, on a local level. Such is the case in Hoquiam with the recent opening of the Hoquiam Brewing Company.

Rob Paylor and Patrick Durney are two local entrepreneurs who have added the brewery to their successful Grays Harbor endeavor, Mill 109 Restaurant and Pub in Seabrook.

Paylor and Durney embarked on the new effort with conscientious planning and construction methods, embracing architectural repurposing and sourcing supplies locally whenever possible.

The spirit of the motto “Think Globally, Act Locally” might be applied to this scenario. These two home-grown guys with deep family and community roots bring a local feel to every aspect of their business.

Hoquiam Brewing
Congressman Derek Kilmer of the 6th District, center, stops by to check on construction progress visiting with Patrick Durney, left, Rob Paylor, right and Patrick’s wife Katie Durney, front. Hoquiam Brewing Company. Photo credit: Hoquiam Brewing Company

After securing a 1920s-built building from the city’s surplus properties last year, they began the sometimes arduous and always surprising upgrades and repairs to repurpose the classic structure. Updates were needed to accommodate all the necessary equipment and fittings for a state of the art microbrew facility.

From the start, Paylor stated they wanted to buy every nail in Hoquiam, but admitted it took a search into other areas of Grays Harbor County for vendors to complete the 8th Street brew house. On the whole, however, every effort was to keep to their commitment of local vendors.

Hoquiam Brewing Company is a new installment in the historic story of Grays Harbor breweries, beginning in 1887. Two other local characters, Louis Blum and H.E. Anderson, debuted their first full-scale production plant that year: the Grays Harbor Brewing and Bottling Company. The birth of the Aberdeen Brewing Company in 1902 was the successor until prohibitions put a stop to it all.

Hoquiam Brewing
Head Brewer Patrick Durney is ready to add organic Imperial Yeast to the brew’s mix and a nod to healthy brewing practices. Photo credit: Hoquiam Brewing Company

Through a complex series of federal appeals and acts, along with the bully pulpit of FDR, beer brewing returned to the area in 1933 with the arrival of The Pioneer (aka Aberdeen) Brewing Company. Pioneer Beer was bottled until 1944 when it was purchased by W.D. Byran who subsequently dismantled then reassembled the plant in Walla Walla. What was left was a long void of beer crafting in the area.

During the 1990s, home brewing or craft beer brewing made a surprising entry in the adult beverage market after years of basement isolation. This surge in the craft industry offered sellable beer to thirsty and enthusiastic aficionados of old school brews.

It was through this brewing adolescence that the road was laid for people like Patrick and Rob to enter the brewing arena.

Starting out as home brewers, the two joined with friends for regular brewing sessions, their beers getting better in quality and consistency each time.

“We’d always wanted to add a brewing element and brew our own stuff for use out there,” Paylor reported of the Mill 109 business.

That expectation was achieved with the recent arrival of the Hoquiam Brewing Company, the first brewing company in the city’s history. The dedication to buy local, using area services and contractor such as Grays Harbor Media Blasting and Restoration and Jones Electric, further fed the ardent support of citizens in Hoquiam and the surrounding community.

Hoquiam Brewing
An enticing view of the end product Blonde Ale one of three great beers currently offered. Photo credit: Hoquiam Brewing Company

Incorporating the expert consultation of brew master Charlie Johnson, with brew pub startup experiences both nationally and international, everything was in place for the much anticipated opening.

With Durney handling the start-up operations and acting as head brewer he announced, “After more than a few speed bumps, today we brewed the first 20 kegs of commercially produced beer ever produced in hometown Hoquiam! Thanks to everyone for your support. We hope to see you at our bar sampling very soon.”

And sample the fans did. The response via social medial was incredible. The word was out and spreading fast on the online world of beer aficionados. A new and interesting venue was about to launch in a small town in western Washington State.

Finally, the day came that everyone had been waiting for. On September 7, the call went out in a Facebook posting: “Oh hi there! Anyone thirsty? Beer will be flowing at 4:00 p.m., Friday. We’ve got some great beers on tap and tasty snacks! Hope to see you there!”

The ale began flowing and it hasn’t stopped since with three beers in the offering: Captain Midnight Milk Stout, Hoquiam India Pale Ale and Blond Ale.

The public’s response to all three beers has been consistently positive with encouraging comments regarding the pub’s inviting atmosphere, high praise for the friendly staff and wishes for Paylor and Durney’s continued success.

No one put it better than Lisha Beraldi-Schnoor commenting, “So glad to see new business in Hoquiam. Our town needs this and so do the residents! It will be a welcomed addition!”

Hours are Thursday, Friday and Monday 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Saturday 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m..

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