Backcountry Essentials receives liquor license

By Isaac Bonnell

Bellingham is known for its outdoor sports and fine microbrews and Backcountry Essentials is now a purveyor of both.

Located at 214 W. Holly St., the gear shop started offering select microbrews in October. Owner Chris Gerston said beer sales are growing quickly and he now offers 67 varieties of microbrews, from Boundary Bay Scotch Ale to Laughing Dog IPA — and he plans to add more.

Though gear and beer aren’t typically sold together, Gerston said it’s becoming part of the outdoor culture.

“Most of the people I know, when they come down off the mountain they want to have a good beer,” Gerston said.

Beer sales also help support the rest of the store, which sells top-of-the-line gear for climbing, skiing and paddling.

“I don’t need it to support the whole store, I just need it to do better than paddling,” Gerston said, adding that sales of paddling equipment have been slow.

For more information, call Backcountry Essentials at (360) 543-5678 or visit


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