Twenty years ago, when the country was hot with "microbrewing" fever, there were less than 40 breweries in Washington state. Ten years ago, there were just under 100 breweries in Washington. Today there are over 250 in the state. This number might seem insane when you compare it against the rest of the country, but for the state this is business as usual for its brewers.
Taking a moment to analyze Seattle, we see a surge in the breweries that have opened over the past five years. One only has to visit Seattle's Ballard or South Park neighborhood to see continued interest in brewing beer. Admittedly the majority of these new breweries produce less than 5 barrels at a time. Newcomer Lucky Envelope wants to change this trend, with the opening of its 15-barrel brewery.
Located a block from Ballard's Populuxe Brewing, Lucky Envelope announced the brewery’s grand opening, this Thursday, May 7.
Named for the Chinese tradition of giving red envelopes of cash during Chinese New Year, Lucky Envelope is the brainchild of Raymond Kwan and Barry Chan. Both expats from the East Coast, Raymond and Barry recognized a tiny void,that needed filling.
Last week, we had the chance to preview the tasting room, the brewery, and learn more about Raymond and Barry.
Barry explained how growing up in Pennsylvania inspired his interest in brewing. In the beginning he enjoyed locally brewed beers from such famous institutions as Victory Brewing Company. Before long he started brewing batches of beer at home, in between studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Eventually he graduated and made his way to Seattle, taking a position as a Structural Engineer.
But Barry continued his brewing education through occasional courses in the Brewery Judge Certification Program, as well as interning at Echo Brewing Company (Frederick, CO) and Downtown Joe's (Napa). As one of the few BJCP graduates in the area, guests can take some comfort in Barry's respect of style.
For Raymond, the path to brewery ownership was only realized after years in finance management.
A graduate of Georgetown University, Raymond traveled from New Jersey to Washington D.C., before settling on finance jobs in Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle. It was during his time in Seattle, working at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, that Raymond developed his business skills. As someone with a diverse industry background (working for NBC Universal, Warner Bros., as well as the Gates Foundation), Raymond considered everything from technology startups to alehouses.
In the end (after establishing a friendship with Barry) Raymond took their idea for a brewery, researched a suitable location, and settled on Ballard. It was, after all, the most logical choice, given the walkability of the neighborhood, when traveling from brewery to brewery. Today the duo is happy to announce the opening of their venture.
Opening at 3pm on Thursday, May 7, guests are encouraged to order a taster or pint while trying out sandwiches from Don Lucho’s.
For the time being, the brewery plans to guarantee between 4 and 6 different beers, including its IPA. Additionally the brewery will work with local food trucks, as well as ensure a family friendly environment for children and dogs. Lastly, the brewery will have food available in the form of snacks, but for the immediate future, there will be no kitchen.
During their opening the brewery will feature 7 beers, which showcase a mix of lagers and ales for guest to choose from.
Sample Draft List
- IPA. Balanced and not a 'palate' wrecker.
- Fog Dart Pale Ale. Approachable for most beer drinkers.
- Seattle Helles Lager. Sweet and will come in hand during outdoor activities.
- Thaiger Mom Belgian Trippel. Not your typical Belgian-style Trippel
- British Stout. Something different, if you're comparing it to Rogue Shakespeare Stout
- Cherry Stout (available in limited amounts). Wasn't available during our visit.
Following the opening, the brewery will operate on the following business hours.
- Thursday: 3pm – 9pm
- Friday: 3pm – 9pm
- Saturday: Noon-9pm
- Sunday: Noon – 9pm
- Monday to Wednesday: Closed
*edited with assistance from Gloria Wang Shawber
N.W. Beer Guide