Big Block Brewing is on the move and its owners hope to open a second taproom in Redmond by the end of the month in the old Hi-Fi Brewing location.
Big Block Brewing is a Sammamish-based brewery run by John and Michele Julum along with around eight employees and their daughter Shelby. Until now, all their brewing has been done out of the Julums’ garage and sold largely at their Sammamish taproom. The expansion to Redmond means they can add an additional seven barrels to their current two-barrel production.
“The goal is to kind of make this our focal point for our brewing,” John Julum said.
Big Block Brewing pumps out a wide array of brews ranging from English ales to dark stouts to Indian pale ales. Instead of specializing in a particular tradition, John Julum said they’re jacks of all trades. And as opposed to other breweries that rely on distribution models, the Julums focus on selling out of their taproom and a select handful of local watering holes.
This model came about due to the brewery being entirely financed by the family, with little debt — meaning they rely on the higher profits of sales by the glass to sustain their business. They don’t can or bottle any of their brews and focus on creating interesting taprooms.
“It’s really important to give people a cool place to go,” John Julum said.
The interior of the Redmond location is currently being remodeled but already sports garage industrial sensibilities, with large glass-paned garage doors throughout and riveted metal trim.
This all fits in with the theme of the taproom, which was named after the engine of the 1967 Ford Galaxie 500, the car in which John Julum learned to drive. One of the large sedans is the mascot for the brewery. The cars were produced with a big block engine which, while unnecessary, was included in the vehicle because it showcased a love for driving, John Julum said. He said the brewery takes the same passion and applies it to beer.
All the brewery’s employees also take turns brewing and have a working knowledge of what goes into each of the brews.
This approach has seemingly been paying off as the brewery expands to Redmond while retaining its Sammamish taphouse through what John Julum said has been double digit growth over the last couple years.
Hi-Fi Brewing was a central location for Redmond patrons who packed its interior for video game tournaments and other forms of entertainment. Big Block Brewing is planning on hosting live music, trivia and car shows as well and possibly a food truck. The Julums are additionally looking at building a full-service kitchen in the future.
John Julum hopes to have the taproom open by the week of July 23 and be brewing by the end of the year.