Hannah Gibbons pours a beer at Penn Cove Brewing Co.’s new taproom in Oak Harbor. (Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times)

Hannah Gibbons pours a beer at Penn Cove Brewing Co.’s new taproom in Oak Harbor. (Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times)

Brothers find untapped potential at Whidbey’s Penn Cove Brewing

The Coupeville-based business opens a second taproom, has plans for a third, plus its own brewery.

OAK HARBOR — Big plans are a-brewing at Penn Cove Brewing Co.

The Coupeville-based business opened its second taproom in Oak Harbor on July 3 — but owners Mitch and Marc Aparicio already have a third taproom and their very own brewery in the works.

“We’re going to be the biggest brewery on Whidbey Island,” Marc Aparicio said. “We’re pretty excited.”

The brothers launched Penn Cove Brewing in 2015, then opened the Coupeville taproom on S. Main Street in 2016.

In 2017, Penn Cove Brewing Co. started brewing its flagship Madrona Way IPA in collaboration with Bastion Brewing Co. of Anacortes.

But the plan has always been to start their own brewing operation in their hometown — Mitch and Marc grew up in Coupeville — and serve all of Whidbey Island.

“Our plan is to brew beer and distribute it to our three taprooms and local restaurants while continuing our support of the community,” Marc Aparicio said. “That’s our master plan.”

The brothers now have a three-barrel system, to produce six kegs per batch, but will soon have a 10-barrel system, which will produce 20 kegs per batch.

“We’re going to start brewing beer soon,” Marc Aparicio said.

The goal is to turn out 1,000 barrels a year.

“That’s a lot of beer,” said Mitch Aparicio, with a smile.

So far, all is going according to the Aparicio brothers’ brewmaster plan.

From left to right, Penn Cove Brewing board of directors member Randy Urquhart, owner Mitch Aparicio, events coordinator Dena Marie and business operations manager Scott Baxter stand outside the new Penn Cove Taproom in Oak Harbor. (Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times)

From left to right, Penn Cove Brewing board of directors member Randy Urquhart, owner Mitch Aparicio, events coordinator Dena Marie and business operations manager Scott Baxter stand outside the new Penn Cove Taproom in Oak Harbor. (Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times)

The brewery hired Woodinville brewer Craig Dilworth, dubbed “The Nutty Professor” for his creative and scientific concoctions, to help ramp up its craft beer production.

(Both brothers have kept their day jobs. Mitch, 51, is a project manager for ConvergeOne, a telecommunications company. Marc, 49, is an independent aerospace consultant and teaches engineering at Arizona State University. He retired from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2015.)

Next, a 24,000 brewery will be built right next to the Coupeville taproom. The brothers own the property, which is just under an acre.

“We were renting out the place next door, but now it’s available,” Marc Aparicio said.

The Aparicios then plan to open another taproom in Freeland “with a lot of outdoor seating,” Marc Aparicio said.

“We’ve got a 5-acre lot up on a hill. It’s beautiful.”

But the main goal of the business has been and will continue to be to support the communities in which they serve. Last year, Penn Cove Brewing gave back more than $12,000 to the community.

Penn Cove Brewing hosts an annual golf tournament to benefit the WhidbeyHealth Foundation. The 2018 tournament raised more than $7,000.

The brewery also supports the Central Whidbey Soccer Club, the Coupeville and Oak Harbor school districts and Musselfest. (The brothers were at the festival in 2015, the year Penn Cove Brewing opened.)

In Oak Harbor, the transformation isn’t complete yet. “We’re still painting the walls,” Marc Aparicio said of their new taproom. They can serve 80 tables right now, but will soon expand the building to have room for 100 tables. The brothers also plan to host events there.

Like the Coupeville operation, the taproom is family friendly and serves beer from regional breweries — plus wine from Spoiled Dog Winery in Langley.

As far as what’s on tap, the Aparicios like to partner with Crucible Brewing of Everett, North Sound Brewing in Mount Vernon, Triplehorn Brewing of Woodinville, Rockfish Grill & Anacortes Brewery in Anacortes, as well as Double Bluff Brewing in Langley and Flyers Restaurant and Brewery in Oak Harbor. Of course, they’ll also serve their own beer.

“We try to collaborate with small craft breweries in Washington and have their beers on tap,” Marc Aparicio said. “And also local wine.”

Coupeville has 13 beers on tap. Oak Harbor has 11.

Both taprooms currently offer a limited food menu, but the brothers are open to collaborating with local restaurants in the future. In the meantime, you’re welcome to either order from the menu or bring your own food.

But Mitch Aparicio admits that food won’t necessarily be the brothers’ focus.

“Our forte is craft beer,” he said.

Like their flagship IPA, all of their brews will be named for local landmarks. Madrona Way is the street that wraps around Penn Cove and is where Marc Aparicio lives.

“We sat on (my) porch and stared out at Penn Cove,” he said, explaining the idea behind their beer’s name.

“In fact, that’s also where we came up with the name of the brewing company.”

Herald Features editor Sara Bruestle contributed to this story.

If you go

The Penn Cove Brewing Co. headquarters — and Coupeville taproom — is at 103 S. Main St.

The Oak Harbor taproom is at 780 SE Bayshore Drive. Hours for both taprooms are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Call 360-682-5747 or go to www.penncovebrewing.com for more information.

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