Hi-Fi Brewing will be shutting down next week after five years spent creating craft beers in Redmond.
The brewery opened in 2013 and has been pumping out a wide variety of drinks since then, but owner John Carothers said it’s the right time to call it quits.
“As you can imagine, any small business these days… is a 24/7 kind of operations, and I wouldn’t mind actually having a weekend off or something like that,” Carothers said.
Their businesses lease is up and instead of renewing it for five years or trying to find another location in an expensive real estate market, Carothers said he decided to close up shop.
While he left the door open for a comeback in the future, for now Carothers said he’ll be focusing on finding another job so he can retire for a second time.
“It has been a blast, it’s the best job I’ve ever had, really liked it. Really, really liked the people I’d get here,” he said.
His customers, who were largely from Redmond and the Eastside, were friendly and enthusiastic about beer.
The brewery has been involved with community activities ranging from local beer festivals to the city’s annual Derby Days celebration.
Its opening in 2013 dovetailed with a national surge of interest concerning craft brewing, and Carothers said he was able to watch the local scene grow and thrive.
When Hi-Fi opened, the neighboring brewery Black Raven was already open, and other establishments like Bushnell and Postdoc Brewing have been good neighbors.
“The camaraderie is just wonderful and that too is one of the things I’ll miss,” he said.
Locals supported his business even when people from outside the area didn’t know who they were.
Carothers recalled one instance at a beer festival where someone asked if they were from Oregon.
“You always hear about craft brewing in Washington or Oregon and that’s all sort of somewhere else, at least relative to where we are, and it’s fun to see it grow organically over here,” he said of the local beer scene.
Tom Schimdlin is the head brewer at Postdoc Brewing, which also operates out of Redmond.
“They’re a great group of guys, and they really set up a nice facility over there, it’s a shame that they’re closing,” he said.
Hi-Fi Brewing produced a wide range of beers featured on taps across Puget Sound.
These included offerings such as their summer seasonal Headphone, wood barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stouts and whiskey porters.
But before they shut down, Hi-Fi Brewing will be hosting a final comedy night on Feb. 17, an event which has become a brewery staple over the previous two years.
On Feb. 18, they will be having what Carothers called a “drain the tanks” celebration with beer and pizza.
The brewery will be closing on Feb. 21.
Carothers had some advice for people interested in the brewing scene as it continues to go strong in the state.
“It’s a challenging task, it’s a lot to it, there’s a lot of money involved, although I don’t think that’s any different than any other startup business, but it’s a real business and it’s a lot of work,” Carothers said.
He likened it to running both a bar and a factory at once.
So if beer enthusiasts want to soak in the ambiance of Hi-Fi Brewing with a beer for a final time before it closes, this weekend would be the time.
“Redmond, we love you and thanks for a good run,” Carothers said.
Hi-Fi Brewing is located at 14950 N.E. 95th St.