Business

Island gets its very own hometown brewery

Russell Everett - Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review
Russell Everett
— image credit: Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review

Russell Everett made his way through law school, passed the bar and was ready for his future career as an attorney.

But he ran into a little glitch—the recession. And after wading through a poor job market, Everett decided to re-evaluate his plans, and chose another path.

If the law wasn’t working out, why not just make beer instead?

That’s exactly what he did.

“I looked for work for a long time and eventually it became a soul searching thing,” Everett said.

Everett, who graduated from Bainbridge High School in 2000, thought about what to do and it came down to some simple logic.

“I got two skills and only one of them is really in demand,” Everett said. “It looks like I’m starting a brewery.”

Everett embarked on a mission to found Bainbridge Island Brewing. On Tuesday, the brewery and taproom held its grand opening and is now in full operation in the Copper Top Loop off Sportsman Club Road.

Despite his time spent in law school, Everett is not new to the brewing scene. He has been a home brewer for 10 years and has worked as an assistant brewer at the Titanic Brewery in Miami. He put in his time learning the trade and also learning the law. In fact, he specialized in alcoholic beverage law while in school.

But now Everett is the master brewer of his own operation. Bainbridge Brewing has four flagship beers — an IPA, a pale ale, a brown ale (Everett’s personal favorite) and a German style Kölsch beer made with imported German ingredients. The idea is to span the beer-tasting palette.

“There is something for everyone right now,” Everett said.

And he won’t stop there. Everett hinted at future beer experiments, such as different types of brews using a variety of ingredients and techniques. He even may partner with the Bainbridge Organic Distillery across the street to make a special brew.

Right now, he is happy doing what he loves.

And as an added bonus, he was able to include his family.

“If you asked me 10 years ago if I would ever be in business with my father, let alone opening a brewery with him, I would have fallen over laughing,” Everett said. “But it’s become this family thing.”

Bainbridge Brewing is certainly a family business.

Everett’s father, Chuck, is co-founder and pours beers right along side his son. His mother Julie can also be found around the tap room. In fact, she’s a stained glass artist and hand made the Bainbridge Brewing sign that proudly hangs above the taps.

But beyond his family, for Everett, the brewery is very much about Bainbridge Island.

Everett likes to talk about an America that once was, before Prohibition, where towns commonly had their own breweries. It held a sense of community — he wants to put that community character into a glass.

“That’s kind of the trend, everyone is starting to have their local community breweries,” Everett said. “It’s part of your identity.”

With the tap room open, Everett has begun taking accounts for establishments around the city. Bainbridge Island beer will soon be on taps all over the island.

Hopefully, in time, the peninsula and beyond will know what island beer tastes like.

“Step one is Bainbridge,” Everett said. “First Bainbridge, then the world.”

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