Doomsday Brewing began first as an idea: that childhood friends Erik Cloe and Jake Walton would be a distribution-only business, focusing on small-batch craft beer.
Walton bought a house that fit the needs of the business, with a garage separate from the house. But they learned quickly that this wouldn’t work well. The company was established in 2012, but they eventually began renting a built-out taproom in Washougal, which opened in 2014.
“We are home brewers who love beer and wanted to share that passion with the masses,” Cloe said. “We opened up a taproom and we would all take turns working there, while also working other jobs. Eventually we took the plunge into Doomsday full time and haven’t looked back.”
Today, work alongside their partners, Amanda Cloe and Michelle La Rue, and their families each day, and have grown to employ 10 people at the Washougal location and the downtown Vancouver Safe House taproom.
The team at Doomsday Brewing is passionate about creating beers that are unique and change the perception of what beer is.
“We started the business to bring another small-batch quality beer to Vancouver – adding some variety to the mix,” Cloe said.
Cloe said they enjoy introducing beers with new styles made with local hops, malts and yeast. They aim to please the palates of many different beer aficionados and part of the fun is experimenting with different characteristics and textures in the beer.
When it comes to working with family members, Cloe explains that each decision is made together.
“(The family) is involved in every decision. Every single one. Customer interaction, payroll – basically anything you can think of,” he said. “This adds a special personality to Doomsday that makes our customers feel like family.”
He explained that being a family-owned business also means there is an extra layer of support, including working around each other’s schedules and making sure kids are taken care of without hiring out childcare. But, while there is flexibility, there are also some disadvantages, including not leaving work at work.
“We are always working and have a very hard time turning the work part off,” Cloe said. “Never being able to turn off your phone can also be a bummer.”
Looking into the future, Cloe shared that they are looking forward to adding five to six more employees this coming fall when they open their third location in Hazel Dell.
“This will be another family friendly taproom with the idea of becoming one of the local pizzerias,” he said. “This third location is our primary focus currently, but we can say we have much bigger plans in the future.”
Doomsday Brewing currently has two locations – Doomsday Brewing Company and Pizza at 421 C St., Unit 3, in Washougal, and Doomsday Brewing Safehouse and Pizza at 1919 Main St., in Vancouver. Their third location, opening soon, will be located in Hazel Dell at 9301 NE Fifth Ave., Suite 120.