RAYMOND — The north half of the county has always struggled to find a foothold when it comes to tapping into tourist traffic heading to the beach. Now, to add to a growing list of new businesses like Pitchwood and Elixir Cafe, a craft brewery has opened at 556 Mill Creek Road in Raymond.
Willapa Brewing is only the second brewery in the county, after North Jetty in Seaview. They are hosting a “Meet the Brewers” event May 27, from 2 to 7 p.m. at the brewery.
Kevin and Cathey McMurry, along with their son, Ryan, presented a truly Pacific County business at their grand opening in April. “Hearty Ales for the Logger in All of Us,” reads their slogan. All of the McMurrys are lifelong Pacific County residents.
“I started thinking about a brewery 20 years ago,” Kevin said. “Persuading my wife to help start and work for the microbrewery was not easy. She thought I had lost my mind.”
Kevin and Cathey are both now retired, aside from working for the brewery. Despite a depressed economy in the Raymond and South Bend areas, the McMurrys are confident that their business will be successful because they are confident in their product.
“The key to our success has been, and will be, the quality and consistency of the beer,” Kevin said.
“We started this brewery in the hope to help our community and create jobs in North Pacific County. Hopefully, a microbrewery can attract and create more business,” he added.
Because he is unable to do the physical work of brewing, Kevin’s son and his apprentices are doing the actual brewing. “The craft beer business has never been better,” Kevin said.
A home-brewed beer typically takes a month from start to finish, but new techniques and equipment make is possible to complete a batch in less than three weeks. “[Choosing your favorite beer] is like picking your favorite child, but I do favor IPAs and Stouts,” said Kevin.
Currently, Willapa Brewing has eight beers on tap and two more on the way, a Chinook Pale Ale and a Scotch Ale.
Willapa Brewery is mainly focusing on production and building a customer base at this point, and plan to later expand into a location on Highway 101.