As one of Seattle's oldest operating breweries, the Pike Brewing Company remains a reminder of craft beer past. One simply needs to visit 1415 1st Avenue, taking caution on the metal steps before witnessing a relic from nearly 30 years ago - the brewpub. Much like the brewery's famous Old Bawdy Barleywine, the brewery and restaurant continue to mature in direct contrast to the growing trend of startup breweries and their use of kitchen-free taprooms. This is most evident with the additions of their new restaurant Tankard & Tun and new packaging of classic ales Kilt Lifter, Monk's Uncle, and Pale Ale in cans. A key witness and some argue an immediate motivator to these additions is Pike Vice President and co-owner, Drew Gillespie.
With over 20 years of loyalty and experience at Pike Brewing Company, Drew Gillespie started his career at the brewery operating in the kitchen as a line cook in 1998 before navigating the rungs of management becoming first its Vice President and then later a co-owner in 2015. Today, Gillespie promotes the tenets created by Pike founders Charles and Rose Ann Finkel while simultaneously looking for new ways to not only expand the brand but also remind foodies and craft beer supporters what makes Pike Brewing special.
So it seems fated that on the 20th anniversary of Drew Gillespie's service at Pike Brewing Company the ownership, including co-owners Patti Baker and Gary Marx, would announce his promotion to President.
For the brewery the choice was obvious.
“Pike is an independent family business and Drew is part of the family. He is a caring, ethical individual of integrity,” says Rose Ann. The Finkels call Drew’s promotion a natural development, and the clear next step in the plan for Pike to become a 100-year-old independent craft brewery. “We have seen first-hand Drew’s enthusiasm and devotion to Pike, its success, and its adherence to a philosophy of quality and sustainability. This includes a passion for giving back to the community. He is a superb business person, illustrated by his almost seven years as vice president of operations, and a key part of Pike’s plan for longevity entering year 30. Rose Ann and I are thrilled to have Drew help guide Pike into the future and are pleased to present him with the title to match his contributions.” Charles and Rose Ann will continue to be active members of Pike’s management team as board chairs.
It's important to note that during his time from 2011 as acting Vice President to 2018 Pike Brewing Company has experienced a year-over-year increase in brewery production, coupled with the opening and prosperity of it's newest eatery Tankard & Tun in 2017, and as recent as October the expansion of free public transportation for all its full-time employees.
And when asked what drives him day after day Drew Gillespie only responds:
What separates Pike is that we’re always looking forward. While we take pride in the past, Pike was founded by forward thinking, and it’s how we make decisions today. What new beer, what new project is around the corner—that’s what gets me excited about my job.
From line cook to President, Drew Gillespie remains a success story worth re-telling to all who have an eye towards the future be they brewer, bartender, or even a line cook.