Stoup Brewing opening its third location as Optimism Brewing is closing

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Seattle’s Optimism Brewing is closing, but Stoup Brewing is opening. The Ballard-born Stoup Brewing will soon take over Capitol Hill’s Optimism Brewing. This summer, the location at Broadway and Union Street in Seattle will transform into Stoup Brewing’s third Seattle-area location: Ballard, Kenmore, and now Capitol Hill. The deal is expected to close in August when the state’s paperwork catches up with the businesses’ intentions.

Optimism Brewing at Broadway and Union.

The changes to the building will be minimal, reflecting Stoup’s branding and colors. Of course, the beers will get “stoupified.” Gay Gilmore and Troy Hakala, who co-founded Optimism Brewing, will retain ownership of the building, but Stoup Brewing will take over the brewery and the taproom. The founders of the two breweries have known each other for over a decade.

Stoup Brewing’s Ballard taproom.

Optimism Brewing says that its taproom is the largest in the state when measured by square footage and draft beer sales. “People thought Troy and I were crazy to build such a large taproom in the middle of the city, with a focus on causes and community,” said Gay Gilmore, Optimism’s co-founder. “We are so proud of what we’ve accomplished with Optimism and grateful to our customers all these years. Stoup has what is required to scale the business to the next level.”

Optimism Brewing’s Capitol Hill taproom.

Troy Hakala, the other co-founder of Optimism Brewing, added, “After two years of building Optimism, nearly eight years of brewing and selling beer, including two years of Covid resiliency, we’ve reached a plateau and logical transition point. We’re happy this opens doors and opportunities for Stoup to grow.”


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This move provides Stoup Brewing with two key benefits: an absolutely huge, lovely taproom in a densely populated, urban neighborhood and a beautiful 20-barrel brewing system, which will add significantly to the company’s brewing capacity.

The taproom at Optimism Brewing.

“We are honored to be entrusted with the next chapter and are very excited to join the vibrant, inclusive Capitol Hill neighborhood,” said Lara Zahaba, one of Stoup Brewing’s co-owners. She also noted that Gilmore and Hakala care deeply for the business they built and for their employees who have imbued the customer experience.


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Though the deal isn’t expected to close until August, the announcement came early so Optimism employees can make decisions about whether to stay on with Stoup or not. Employees were notified of the pending deal last weekend. Currently, Optimism’s taproom employs 11 full-time employees and 10 part-time employees. Stoup Brewing hopes to retain as many of those employees as possible.

A decade ago when Optimism Brewing opened, the intention behind the business was uncommon. The brewery’s founders sought to create an environment that was more inclusive and diverse than what they were seeing in the industry at the time. All these years later, a notable portion of the craft beer world has caught the drift and today many breweries are working for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive industry. In the brewhouse and on both sides of the bar, there’s still a lot of work to do, but the industry is making progress, and pioneers like Optimism Brewing deserve our thanks.

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We will have more to report on this development as it all unfolds in the coming months.



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