Cucumber Kolsch is available at both Lost Canoe Brewing and Sound to Summit Brewing in Snohomish. (Photo by Aaron Swaney)

Cucumber Kolsch is available at both Lost Canoe Brewing and Sound to Summit Brewing in Snohomish. (Photo by Aaron Swaney)

Neighboring beer-maker buys Snohomish’s first craft brewer

Lost Canoe has purchased Sound to Summit, whose owners also are health care practitioners.

The foursome who owns Snohomish’s Lost Canoe Brewing loves a big challenge. They recently made that clear by doubling down on their investment in the Snohomish beer scene.

This past week, Lost Canoe owners Will Hezlep, John Carruthers, Emily Longkow and Adam Hayes made a shocking acquisition in the local craft beer community: They bought neighboring Snohomish brewery Sound to Summit Brewing from original owners John and Stacey Sype.

The deal came together quickly. One of the Lost Canoe owners spied an innocuous anonymous listing for a brewery for sale in Snohomish County. Process of elimination helped the Lost Canoe folks realize it was Sound to Summit, the first brewery in Snohomish, that was up for sale.

“For an hour we joked about it,” Hezlep said of Lost Canoe purchasing Sound to Summit. “Then we were like, ‘How can we buy it?’ Then it was, ‘We should do this!’ ”

Carruthers called Sound to Summit owner John Sype and expressed interest in purchasing the brewery. They went to dinner that night to chat about the possibility, and both parties came away optimistic.

“When the brewery was first listed, we had several other suitors from breweries and groups in-state and out-of-state,” John Sype said. “The owners of Lost Canoe approached us and were very interested in carrying on the tradition of Sound to Summit, keeping the name and promoting the brand. This was important to us as owners, and their plans for the future meshed well with what we thinking.”

For the Sypes, their brewery simply outgrew their dreams. When they started the brewery in 2013 it was a smallish venture, but then a kitchen was added and distribution was widened.

Soon the couple had a business with more than 20 employees on their hands. Stacey was busy with a new dental practice and John was looking to return to his field as an interventional cardiologist. Owning a successful brewery was becoming too much.

“We realized that it was time to pass the baton to a new ownership group that has the better ability to run all facets of the business and further promote the brand Sound to Summit,” John said.

Lost Canoe’s owners see a dual benefit from the purchase. They hope to expand Sound to Summit’s footprint throughout King and Snohomish counties, while at the same time brewing more Lost Canoe beer and increasing its distribution.

“This was an opportunity to increase our production in a unique way,” Hezlep said. “Instead of buying a larger system, we purchased a brewery with a large brewing system and an established distribution network.”

Hezlep said they plan to brew more of the popular Lost Canoe beers, like its Peanut Butter Porter, on Sound to Summit’s larger system and use the brewery’s substantial distribution network to get more Lost Canoe beer on shelves in King and Snohomish counties.

As for the brewers’ relationship, Hezlep, who writes many of the recipes for Lost Canoe, will oversee much of the brewing operation between Lost Canoe and Sound to Summit. Hezlep said he plans to have Sound to Summit head brewer Grady Warnock move to a more supervisory role as well so he can concentrate more on the creative process.

“I’m excited for the future and to see the brand continue to expand to more audiences with the new management,” Warnock said. “I am very appreciative to both John and Stacey for the opportunity to work with them in my first experience with brewery development, but it’s time to take the next step for Sound to Summit and my recipes.”

The Sypes said they’re excited that someone local is going to take their baby and help it grow. Hezlep said that the Lost Canoe owners feel a responsibility to see Sound to Summit continue its upward trajectory while taking both breweries to the next level.

“Two months ago for us it was, ‘how do we grow,’ ” Hezlep said. “Now it’s, ‘where do we stop?’ ”

Drink this

Cucumber Kolsch

Lost Canoe Brewing/Sound to Summit Brewing, Snohomish

Style: Kolsch

Available: On tap at both breweries

From the brewery: A traditional German kolsch infused with fresh English cucumbers in a 3-barrel batch.

Other brews on this week’s taster tray:

Timber Monster IPA, Timber Monster Brewing: A Northwest-style IPA, hopped with Magnum, Centennial, Simcoe and Citra, from a new brewery in Sultan. The brewery will also have a coffee oatmeal stout, an amber and blood orange blonde on tap for its grand opening, which is Friday through Sunday. Available on tap at the brewery.

French Creek Saison, Spada Farmhouse Brewing: A special edition of John Spada’s saison made with white wheat malt from Skagit Valley Malting for Saturday’s SVM Showcase at Farmstrong Brewing. Available on tap at the brewery and April 7 at Farmstrong Brewing.

The Green Bastard, Middleton Brewing: Brewed with catnip and Green Bastard hops, this New England-style IPA will debut at Middleton’s spring beer release event at noon April 7. Available on tap at the brewery.

Astronut, Lake Stevens Brewing: Brewed with 6 pounds of dehydrated peanut butter per barrel, this porter is surprisingly creamy and doesn’t overwhelm. Available on tap at the brewery.

Ya Know What I Mean, Crucible Brewing: A peaches-and-cream milkshake IPA. Available on tap at the brewery.

— Aaron Swaney, special to The Herald

Talk to us

More in Life

CloZee performs during the second day of Summer Meltdown on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019 in Darrington, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The psychedelic fest Summer Meltdown is back — and in Monroe

The music and camping event is on for July 28-31, with a new venue along the Skykomish River.

Gardening at spring. Planting tree in garden. Senior man watering planted fruit tree at his backyard
Bare root trees and roses have arrived for spring planting

They’re only available from January through March, so shop early for the tree or rose you want.

Veteran Keith F. Reyes, 64, gets his monthly pedicure at Nail Flare on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021 in Stanwood, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
No more gnarly feet: This ‘Wounded Warrior’ gets pedicures

Keith Reyes, 64, visits a Stanwood nail salon for “foot treatments” that help soothe blast injuries.

Photo Caption: A coal scuttle wasn't always used for coal; it could hold logs or collect ashes. This one from about 1900 sold for $125 at DuMouchelles in Detroit.
(c) 2022 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.
Coal scuttles of days long gone by now used for fire logs

This circa 1900 coal scuttle is made of oak with brass trim, and sold for $125 at auction.

Enumclaw, the band
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Most of these venues require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or negative… Continue reading

Does this ring a “Belle”? Storied anime writer-director Mamoru Hosoda’s newest resets “Beauty and the Beast” in a musical, virtual environment — among other modern twists. (GKIDS/TNS)
‘Belle’ is striking virtual reality riff on ‘Beauty and the Beast’

In it, ‘Beauty’ is the charismatic online avatar of a moody teenager that attracts the attention of a bruised and brooding Beast

"Redeeming Love"
Movie review: ‘Redeeming Love’ doesn’t yield cinematic riches

The story, about a sex worker “redeemed” by a folksy farmer in Gold Rush-era California, is creepy “tradwife” fan fiction.

Eggs Florentine
Baked Eggs Florentine: A brunch favorite inspired by a queen

The kitchen manager at Quil Ceda Creek Casino shares a dish that pays homage to a spinach-crazy 16th century monarch.

Jennifer Bardsley, author of her newest book Good Catch, at her home on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 in Edmonds, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds author transitions from young adult novels to romance

Jennifer Bardsley’s “Good Catch” is set in an Edmonds-like town. Spoiler alert: There’s a happy ending.

Most Read