What We Do & Why We Do It
A favorite phrase around Hale’s is, “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” And, of course, THE “Main Thing” here is making great beer in the brewery and serving great food and drink in the pub. The original vision, in 1983, for Hale’s Ales was to produce world-class ales, by the use of traditional English methods, using locally sourced natural ingredients, and to deliver the finished ales to local beer lovers as absolutely fresh as possible. That vision and mission remains unchanged today.
In a broader, more human sense, Hale’s vision and mission has been to create a company that is sustainable, that is a responsible community partner, that has a fair and happy work environment, and cares deeply about its employees (the people who make it happen!). Mike Hale and his original band of supporting friends from Colville, who took a chance way back in 1983 on an unlikely dream, are still the owning group, along with a few long-time employees who were invited in to be owners (this does make Hale’s the longest running, continually owned brewery, of any size, in the Pacific Northwest, and indeed one of the oldest in the entire U.S.). The main dividend any of the owners has ever received is free beer when they ask for it.
A Pioneer of Cask Beer in the Northwest
Northwest beer lovers appreciation of cask-conditioned beer can be traced back to the mid-1980s when Mike Hale first introduced “real ale” to the region’s nascent craft beer culture.
Mike founded Hale’s Ales Brewery in 1983 after a year of apprenticeship brewing at Gale’s Ales Brewery in Horndean, England. And it was in England where Hale learned to appreciate traditional hand-pumped, cask-conditioned beers.
Once back in the states, Mike’s enthusiasm for “real ale” caught the attention of the late Don Younger, owner of Portland’s Horse Brass Pub. Together Mike and Don tracked down a hand pump engine and installed it at the bar.
Soon afterwards, cask-conditioned ale was served for the very first time in the Northwest. The beer was cask-conditioned Hale’s Special Bitter (HSB).
As cask-conditioned beer became more popular in the NW, Mike Hale, accompanied by brewery employees and investors, visited England to find more hand pumps, once checking back through airport security carrying beer engines in their arms.
Since the 1980s Mike Hale has helped install beer engines and supply delicious cask beer to bars and restaurants throughout the NW. Here’s to many more years!
From using one of the west coast’s largest hybrid solar water heating systems to heat the water we use in the brewery to obtaining locally-sourced ingredients in our beers, we here at Hale’s have made sustainability a real pursuit.
Think Globally, Act Locally: The Big Picture
In 2012, Hale’s Brewery invested in cutting edge hybrid solar water heating technology to provide hot water for our brewery. This device is one of the largest solar heating systems of its kind on the west coast. As a result, we have reduced our consumption of natural gas by nearly 60%!
Also in 2012, Hale’s retrofitted our building with computer controlled high efficiency lighting. This new technology has also helped us significantly lower our electricity usage and reduce our carbon footprint
Think Globally, Drink Locally: Hale’s Beers
Hale’s began brewing small batch beers in 1983 with the conviction that the best beer is fresh, locally made beer and to this effect, coined the slogan, “think globally, drink locally.” Today, the recognition of the environmental benefits of buying locally made products has spawned a movement across the globe.
By emphasizing the use of ingredients grown and processed right here in the Northwest, craft breweries like Hale’s have been on the forefront of this movement. Most of the grains we use are processed and distributed out of Great Western Malting from Vancouver, WA. The delicious spicy aromas of our beers come from hops designed and grown out of Yakima Valley. Many of our packaging materials, including our new 12oz cans, are also produced here in the NW. Additionally, wherever possible, the brewery use compostable plastics.
We are doing a lot of great things towards reaching a more sustainable world, but know that there’s always more to do. Your continued interest in regional craft breweries helps promote the environmental benefits of locally made products. Thanks for your support!
Throughout Hale’s history the brewery has been actively involved in the local community in many ways. Many local schools, churches, non-profit groups, clubs and other community groups have received support from the Brewery, some for many years. Hale’s frequently supports local arts groups, most notably the Moisture Festival who found a home—literally—at Hale’s for the last ten years.
Some notable groups Hale’s has been supportive of:
- Fremont Rotary – the Hale’s Banquet Room has been home to the Fremont Rotary every Tuesday evening for over a decade
- Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Association
- B. F. Day School
- Pacific Crest School
- Ballard High School
- St. Baldrick’s Foundation
- Muscular Dystrophy Association
- Children’s Hospital
- Northwest Harvest
- Water First
- Net Impact
- Fremont Market
- Boys and Girls Clubs
- Campfire Girls
- Teatro ZinZanni
- Seattle Repertory Theater
- Intiman Theater
- Fremont Fair
- Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce
Many, many community auctions are supported