Brewery News: (WA) Fish Brewing & The Loft on Cherry end their partnership at 525 Cherry Street

image courtesy of Fish Brewing Company

A few months ago Olympia Washington's Fish Brewing cleared the air regarding their renovation plans at 525 Cherry Street. The necessity to explain the status of the brewery warehouse’s lease was mostly inspired because of local protest by fans of The Loft on Cherry.

What was clear from the statement was the brewery’s commitment to address concerns from the city "... It is single story with many support posts that interfere with forklift traffic, the concrete floor is crumbling from beneath, and there is no loading dock. Trucks are currently loaded and unloaded from the middle of the street, crossing car and pedestrian traffic creating an unsafe condition." through renovation. This wasn’t to say that the concerns regarding the future of the The Loft weren’t included. In fact the brewery did everything it could to maintain the business in the second story.

Unfortunately this story doesn’t have a happy ending for The Loft on Cherry Street. Starting on February 28th, 2011 The Loft on Cherry Street will no longer occupy 525 Cherry Street and will instead be searching for a new space.

This is what Fish Brewing had to say regarding the decision to not renew The Loft’s lease.

Fish Brewing Company is simply trying to find a long term home for its brewing operation that will accommodate its growing needs. What started out as great intentions to keep Fish Brewing in Olympia have turned into a public uproar from supporters of the Loft and others who have falsely accused us having unethical intentions and lack of support for the arts. It is our opinion that this is a landlord issue so we informed them that we would simply allow the lease to expire and will continue our search for an appropriate facility”, Sal Leone, President of Fish Brewing ...

At the urging of Mr Smith who feared the controversy would drive the brewery out of Olympia, Fish Brewing Company, Kolb Family Investments and Mr. Smith signed an agreement to terminate the Loft’s sublease on February 28, 2011 rather than wait out its natural term. The agreement calls for financial support to Mr Smith from both Fish Brewing and Kolb Family Investments for the purpose of supporting required leasehold improvements needed for the Loft to continue its operation at the Urban Onion, to find adequate rehearsal space for any group inconvenience by the early move, and the acknowledgement by Mr Smith that he supports the expansion project and is voluntarily vacating his sublease.

It is our hope that by supporting Mr Smith with his request for monetary support and an early termination of his lease that the Loft can continue its operation to support the arts and its customers while at the same time providing some time for the brewery and Kolb Family Investments time to consider their future plans . We insisted that every customer who had already booked the facility be accommodated to their satisfaction, Leone states.

It is our desire and request that the negative comments about our company stop especially the accusation that we do not support the arts”. Leone who has been the executive director for the Northwest Youth Music Association, a member of the Husky Band Foundation, and currently the director of the Cascades Drum & Bugle Corps, an internationally recognized musical youth group takes these accusations personally. “I have committed my life to the arts. It is a priority in everything I do and support. My wife and I met in high school band, all my children took music lessons, and my oldest son is a certified music educator”, Leone says. Even prior to the decision to expand the brewery, Fish Brewing created a new event coordinator position specifically to increase the number of local events at the brewery to allow for more expression of the arts. Future plans calls for more street fairs with art exhibits and performance stages. Thursday night showings of classic movies on the side of the building have also been discussed. “It has been our intent all along to make Fish Brewing the happening place in Olympia. I hope you can understand our disappointment when the Loft controversy started”, Leone comments.

For those keeping track at home that means that as of right now (technically Monday of this week) The Loft on Cherry will be without a permanent place.  Best of luck to The Loft on Cherry Street, we wish them the best of luck in their endeavors to continue supporting Olympia through entertainment.

About Fish Brewing

Celebrating its eighteenth year, Fish Brewing Company is an award-winning brewer and bottler of craft ales and ciders. Fish is best known for Fish Tale Organic Ales, the northwest’s premier Organic beer. Fish introduced its first Organic Ale in 1999. The Fish Brewing family expanded in 2000 with the acquisition of Leavenworth Brewing. In 2005, Fish acquired the Spire Mountain Ciders brand. Today, Fish Tale Organic Ales, Leavenworth German-style beers, and Spire Mountain Ciders are all crafted at Fish Brewing’s downtown Olympia facilities where they also operate The Fish Tale Brew Pub.


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