Bryan Shull – majority owner, founder and managing member of Trap Door Brewing on Main Street in Vancouver – left a 25-year career in renewable energy engineering to start a brewery simply because he loves beer and the community of people that make up the brewing industry.
“Some of the most solid, genuine and kind cast of characters make up this industry and I am glad to be a part of it,” Shull said.
Shull first started the brewery in 2015 with his two sons – Zane Singleton, who is the head brewer, and Zakary Singleton, who is a silent owner. They have two additional partners – Dave Forster, a silent owner, and Michael Parsons, taproom general manager.
“Trap Door Brewing specializes in making quality, independent craft beers,” Shull said. “Our beers can be enjoyed in our comfortable taproom on Main Street or in countless bottle shops, taprooms and restaurants all over Washington and Oregon.”
Shull said they opened Trap Door in October of 2015 with six employees. Currently, they have four full-time employees and five part-time employees. He said their production has increased 250% since opening and continues to grow, and revenue has increased 20% year-over-year. Shull also said they are in the process of opening a second location in Ridgefield, and they are anticipating that the doors will open in the summer of 2020.
The second location will be a full restaurant and taproom, as well as headquarters for Trap Door’s barrel-aging sours program. Shull said they will be fermenting, aging and bottling some interesting beers at that location, and said this expansion will likely triple their staff count.
Besides the quality of Trap Door’s beer, Shull said something that sets their business apart is simply their story and the fact that they are a fourth-generation Vancouver beer family. Both Shull’s grandfather and father worked at and retired from Great Western Malting Company located at the Port of Vancouver USA.
“Great Western is a key player in malt supply for the craft brewing industry,” Shull said. “I worked there one summer between college semesters, and now my son and I own Trap Door. Zane has a degree in food science with a fermentation specialty from UC Davis in California, a prestigious program in the brewing industry.”
Shull said Trap Door is successful in this community because they are a part of it.
“We believe in taking care of the people who take care of us, so we focus on a quality experience, quality products and community engagement,” Shull said. “Our place is the local clubhouse for hundreds of our neighbors. We are family friendly until 8 p.m. People come in, grab food from the food carts in our parking lot, have a pint or two and spend quality time with friends and family.”
“The brewing community is a close-knit group of people, always willing to help one another,” Shull said. “I am never more than two phone calls away from any kind of help, whether it be need for ingredients or advice on equipment.”
Trap Door Brewing is located at 2315 Main St., in Vancouver.