"We weren't looking forward to this phase, although we are all excited about finishing this project, which has been in the planning for several months," said Bob Maphet, president of Diamond Knot.
The Diamond Knot Brewery & Alehouse is located near Mukilteo Lighthouse Park, across the street from the ferry terminal to Whidbey Island. Diamond Knot used to share the building at 621 Front St. with Woody's, an ice cream and coffee shop. With the closure of Woody's, Diamond Knot is expanding into the vacant part of the building.
When the project is completed, Diamond Knot will offer ice cream and coffee, as Woody's did. It's adding a family-friendly dining area on the south side of the building and will expand the alehouse kitchen.
Diamond Knot plans keep the existing brew pub as it is, said Andy Eason, vice president of retail operations.
"We know our customers don't want the alehouse to change from its current state," Eason said. "We don't want it to change, either."
Diamond Knot began operating at the Mukilteo location in 1994, when founders Maphet and Brian Sollenberger brewed and distributed India pale ale from a 300-square-foot space in the back of the building. Five years later, Diamond Knot expanded into the area now occupied by the alehouse.
"Disrupting service at the alehouse is the last thing we want to do, but it will be 100 percent better when we reopen," Maphet said. "We are trying to keep the time of disruption as short as possible."
The temporary closure comes at Diamond Knot's slowest time of the year.
Diamond Knot's other locations will remain open. That includes the Pizza House and Taproom, both in Mukilteo, and Diamond Knot Camano Lodge on Camano Island.
Beer production won't be affected during the disruption at the Front Street location, Sherry Jennings, director of communications for Diamond Knot, wrote in an email.
Diamond Knot employs 25 people at the brewery and alehouse. Maphet said the company has maintained health care benefits for full-time employees and made sure unemployment benefits are available during the two-month closure.
The company plans to increase staffing after the expansion by as many as 15 people, Jennings said. The hiring process will begin in February.
"If there was a way to pour beer at the alehouse sooner, we would," Eason said.
Michelle Dunlop: 425-339-3454; email@example.com.
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