A couple weeks ago a friend sent me a photo (above) that suggested District Brewing intended to open a location in Ferndale. As the picture shows, it’s clear the company is planning something in what is currently a vacant building. To learn more, I called Mark Shintaffer, one of the owners of District Brewing.
Turns out, every picture tells a story or at least part of a story. District Brewing opened its first location, a brewery and pizza-focused restaurant, in early 2020. As soon as the pandemic allowed, the town of Mount Vernon embraced its new family-friendly hangout. The downtown location is in the old Lyric Theater at the Riverfront Park and Riverfront Plaza. So, what does the company have planned for its second location?
“Additional taproom locations have always been part of District Brewing’s plan,” Mark Shintaffer told me. “From the beginning, we envisioned a sort of hub and spoke, with a central brewery and taproom location and then surrounding taprooms in nearby communities. The location in Ferndale will be a taproom and a barrel-aging facility. We won’t have a brewery there, no stainless-steel brewing equipment anyway, but we will brew beer in Mount Vernon specifically to put into barrels at the Ferndale location.”
About 35 miles north of Mount Vernon, District Brewing is in the final stages of hammering out the details so it can begin the build-out on Main Street in downtown Ferndale. The plan will see the former hardware store transformed into a family-friendly taproom with a game room, some private rooms/spaces, an outdoor patio seating area, and lots of barrels for aging beer. District Brewing will license the location as a brewery with a taproom, but barrel-aging beer is the plan for now. Instead of offering food, the taproom will encourage guests to support other Ferndale businesses.
“Over the past couple of years, restaurants have been hit particularly hard,” Mark said. “Instead of creating another place to get food, we thought it best to create a space where people could enjoy a great beer and bring food in from neighboring businesses.”
Mark is a graduate of Ferndale High School, so he knows the lay of the land. He’s confident District Brewing will fit into the community. There is currently no firm timeline for the project as the company is still hashing out some details with the city.
“We’ve heard nothing but positive things from the city,” said Mark, speaking of his conversations with city council members and other local officials. With confidence, he added, “Now we just need that positive energy translated into action and we’ll get this thing done.”
The Washington Beer Blog will keep an eye on things as the project progresses. When the plan comes to fruition, you’ll find District Brewing’s new location at 2000 Main Street, Ferndale, WA 98248. It is just two blocks away from Fringe Brewing.