Our founders Ryan Hilliard and Adam Merkl, opened Hilliard’s Beer in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle in October, 2011 with a focus on making great craft beer with the best available ingredients.
Ryan had been homebrewing since he could legally drink (he recently turned 40) and in 2009, his home brew pale ale made it through the local competitions all the way out to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. As one of only 75 homebrewer participants among the 450+ national breweries present, the experience was a much needed kick in the pants to bring his love of making beer from hobby to profession. Every Tuesday for the next year and a half, Ryan and Adam drank their way around Seattle figuring out how to take starting a brewery from a dream to a reality. With both of them being dads with young families, they wanted to create something both close to home, but also widely and easily available where people drink, shop and wind-down. Taking the feeling of going out and having a pint with a friend anywhere you are drove the decision to package primarily in tallboy cans.
“We believe in quality without exclusivity or pretentiousness, from our ingredients to our community involvement”
Even before finding a location, they picked up a copper-clad 15 bbl brewhouse along with four 15 bbl fermenters that just came up for sale from Sacramento Brewing. After an exhaustive hunt for a space the brewery could grow into over time, they landed on a former auto service garage built in 1947 which featured high ceilings and large, south facing windows. From there, they stripped out what wasn’t needed and upgraded what was to create a space that flows easily between production and taproom. It’s a comfortable place to work as well as a welcoming meet-up spot for families, friends, and strangers.
“We are dedicated to simplicity, excellence and care of process”
At Hilliard’s, we are dedicated to simplicity, excellence and care of process in brewing beer that can be appreciated by the informed and informal beer drinker. We believe in quality without exclusivity or pretentiousness, from our ingredients to our community involvement. We’re not here to hit you over the head with food pairing regulations, a quaint story, manufactured nostalgia, QR codes, or novelty opening method every time you pick up a beer. However, we are always happy to share our knowledge and passion for what we are doing, whether it’s about our brew process or overall philosophy. In fact, get us started and you may be sorry you asked. Have questions or comments? Come down and have a beer or drop us a line.
photo by Jonathan Vanderweit