By Emily Hamann
Soon, Ferndale beer lovers won’t have to drive to Bellingham anymore to drink at a neighborhood brewery. Fringe Brewing is set open early this year in downtown Ferndale.
“I thought it would be fun to open up my own brewery,” Head Brewer Scott White said.
He has been brewing for 10 years, first as a homebrewer, then as an apprentice at Menace Brewing and Sumerian Brewing in Woodinville. He also went through the Craft Brewing Academy at Skagit Valley College.
He brought his long-time friend Jeff Lazzari onboard as vice president and to run the front of house.
They each have years of experience in the beverage and foodservice industry.
Fringe Brewing has already released a collaboration beer with North Fork Brewery in Deming.
They also plan on offering five flagship beers, a hazy IPA, a milk stout and a red, pale and blonde ale. They will do up to five other rotating beers.
All the beers are named in honor of Ferndale past or present.
“Nods to Ferndale of now and old,” Lazzari said. “We want to succeed here first, and make it for Ferndale.”
Previously, the building housed the Ferndale Police Department. Earlier in its history, it was also the library.
The brewery’s office is in what used to be the holding cell.
They plan on installing a roll-up door on the side of the building, which will lead to a side area that in summer will have a beer garden and food trucks.
They’re leaving the rest of the space mostly open — including the actual brewing area, which will only be separated from the seating area by a short barrier. White said he hopes to encourage more conversations about beer and the process.
“Come on up, talk to me,” White said. “We’re totally receptive to talking about beer.”
At first, Fringe beers will only available at the brewery, which has 12 taps — in addition to 10 Fringe beers, they plan on offering one rotating guest and a rotating guest cider.
They plan on also having some events like live music and trivia nights.
This will be Ferndale’s first commercial brewery and taphouse. Even though White lives in Bellingham and Lazzari lives in Everett, they always knew they wanted to build their brewery in Ferndale. It’s a growing population and it doesn’t already have one. Ferndale also gets cross-traffic, from people traveling on Interstate-5 and commuting back and forth to the refineries at Cherry Point.
They hope that if Fringe succeeds, other potential business owners will realize the possibilities in Ferndale.
“Hopefully some people out there will take a risk like we did,” White said.
White said people he has talked to are excited about a brewery coming to town.
“They’re tired of driving 8 miles down to have a craft beer,” White said.
“Someone commented on our Instagram, ‘our Uber will be so much cheaper now’.”
Ann Serwold, executive director of the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce, has also heard the buzz about the new brewery. She said the community in Ferndale have been asking for one for a while.
A local brewery provides a unique vibe that doesn’t currently exist in the city. “Ferndale has almost 14,000 people,” Serwold said. “They don’t all want to drive to Bellingham to get that experience.”
She thinks it could possibly drive more traffic to the city’s downtown as well.
“It’s a destination,” she said.
When Downtime Taps, which is the only taphouse in the city and the first of its kind in the state, opened on the east end of town in 2018, Serwold said there was increased traffic to that entire area.
Now, Serwold said, Fringe Brewing could have that same effect on the west end of town, and Main Street.
The city, which has ramped up efforts to attract new business, could benefit from having positive examples.
“It actually lets other people see that there’s success here,” Serwold said.
Correction, Feb. 14: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the name of the taphouse Downtime Taps.