After graduating from college with an archaeology degree, Colin Lothrop found himself traveling the world working on archaeology digs. Turns out, though, he was more interested in digging up unique and intriguing beers in his off-time than anything that was in the ground.
That love for craft beer has led Lothrop and his wife, Danielle, to recently open Toggle’s Bottleshop in downtown Everett. Named after the couple’s now-deceased dog, Toggle, the taproom and bottleshop has 21 taps of beer and cider and more than 20 cooler windows of bottled and canned beers in the back.
“We’re not brewers, but we wanted to capture that creative essence in the décor, layout and other details of a bottleshop,” Colin said.
Colin traces his love of craft beer to those post-work trips out to breweries with co-workers. He brought that knowledge home and introduced Danielle to craft beer. They started visiting local breweries and bottleshops and came up with an idea.
“For years we loved going out to bottleshops like The Pourhouse in Port Townsend and Norm’s Market in Lake Stevens,” said Colin. “We thought, ‘Why not take a shot and see if we could do it ourselves.’ ”
Colin and Danielle moved to Everett five years ago and grew to love the downtown core. When they decided to open a taproom/bottleshop, they didn’t look anywhere else to do it but downtown Everett.
“We definitely wanted to open the bottleshop in Everett and wanted it to feel like a neighborhood establishment,” Colin said. “We wanted this to truly be a community-focused business.”
They found the small storefront between a mini mart and a teriyaki takeout restaurant on Hewitt Avenue earlier this year and officially took control of the property in March. Since then, the couple has made drastic changes. The former space was set up to house cubicles and office equipment. Colin and Danielle worked with 2812 Architects to strip out the cubicle farm look, expose the brick walls and wood beams and build two separate spaces: one a taproom with a bar and tables and another a bottleshop made up of eight large coolers of bottled and canned beer.
Danielle did much of the conceptual design for the space, and despite having to completely overhaul the design plan midway through the process, she’s built a warm and relaxing space for the taproom. Butcher block window counters, exposed brick walls and a luxurious copper bar create a space that makes anyone want to reflexively hoist a pint or two.
Colin did take credit for one of the design elements: the half-door fronts, complete with doorknobs, on the front of the bar.
Both Colin and Danielle, who recently resigned from her job as an organizer with the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce, have strong backgrounds in project management. Along with designing the space, they both did much of the organization of the project, from drawing up plans and meeting with city officials to helping schedule contractors and deliveries.
“We had to be our own project managers and find specialty contractors and make our own schedule,” said Colin, who added that their business is also self-funded. “Our past positions really helped us with that.”
Local small businesses helped the Lothrops plan how to open not only a small business, but a craft beer-focused one. They got permitting advice from Narrative Coffee’s Maxwell Mooney, craft beer small business advice from Brews Almighty’s Joe Kutz, inspiration from Snohomish’s Josh’s Taps & Caps, and friendships from 5 Rights Brewing’s R.J. Whitlow and The Independent Beer Bar’s Doug Hall and Jeff Sadighi.
“Like Doug and Jeff, Danielle and Colin understand the importance of celebrating great local craft beer as well as curating what we call ‘inspiration’ beers from some of the best breweries around the country and world,” Whitlow said. “The craft beer world gets better when we encourage each other to raise the bar. Danielle and Colin will be big contributors to that cause.”
Throughout the process, Colin and Danielle would often gravitate to Everett breweries like At Large Brewing, Middleton Brews and Crucible Brewing, to relax and sip a pint after long day of work. Colin said they were comforted knowing the brewers had been through much of the same struggles.
“They’ve all been there before,” Colin said. “They would often let us know that it’ll be OK; that we were on the right track.”
As for Toggle, the couple’s former shiba inu is now memorialized in the bottleshop’s logo, greeting visitors as they walk up to the business. Behind the bar, prowls Sugi, the couple’s new 1-year-old shiba inu. A new pup for the new business.
1420 Hewitt Ave., Everett; 425-303-9999; togglesbottleshop.com
Hours: Noon to 11 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday; noon to midnight Friday and Saturday; noon to 8 p.m. Sunday