Brewing company seeks property in Washougal

Microbrewery will include a tasting room

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While renovation efforts are underway to prepare the future site of Amnesia Brewing, at 1834 Main St., in downtown Washougal, another company also plans to open a microbrewery in the local area.

Mark Zech, one of five owners of Washougal Brewing Co. LLC, is interested in purchasing property near Bi-Mart, 3003 Addy St., in Washougal.

There are six available pads of land, owned by DM Stevenson Ranch.

“We’re in the process of talking to the realtor,” Zech said yesterday, by phone. “We have not closed on anything or come to any decisions yet. We’re a brewery without a building.”

If Washougal Brewing Co. purchases land near Bi-Mart, the plan would be to construct a two-story structure that would house a production microbrewery with a tasting room.

“It will not be a brewpub,” Zech said. “It will be ‘pubbish,’ but initially there will be no food. Amnesia is doing the same thing basically. We might have snacks, but people will not sit down and have dinner.”

With the help of realtor Greg Goforth, Zech is also looking at a couple of existing buildings that are not currently listed for sale in downtown Washougal.

“We’re just looking for one site [now],” Zech said. “The end goal is more than one location. Once we get the brewery open, there could be a couple of public houses serving beer plus food. That’s our long term goal. It’s a 10-year plan.”

Washougal Brewing Co. started in March with a two-barrel pilot system at Zech’s home in Washougal.

“We’ll continue to use that for making small batches,” he said.

“The tasting room is in my garage,” Zech added. “It’s how every microbrewery has started.”

Washougal Brewing Co. currently has six employees. Once the microbrewery opens, the company will need servers, assistant brewers and a manager.

Zech hopes to have a seven-barrel system operating by September 2013.

As a NATO project manager with the PLEXSYS Interface Products corporate headquarters in Camas, Zech spends a lot of time in Germany. A friend’s son studied brewing science there and has become Zech’s mentor.

Paul Dennis, president and chief executive officer of the Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association, has provided Zech with tax incentive information.

Zech also recently met Larry and Ana Pratt in his neighborhood. Larry, a woodworker, is currently building a bar for Zech. The Pratts are in the process of selling the Salmon Creek Brewery & Pub, in downtown Vancouver.

The beers being brewed by Zech and the other employees include Jose’s Jalapeno Wheat Ale, Belgian Tripel and Dragonfly CDA.