With a goal of keeping Pike Brewing Company going for over a century, the iconic Seattle brewer has sold a stake of its ownership to the Seattle Hospitality Group (SHG). Pike Brewing Company will retain its local leadership that includes Founder Charles Finkel and President Drew Gillespie.
Pike Brewing was founded in 1989 by craft beer pioneers Charles Finkel and his late wife, Rose Ann Finkel. Located in Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Public Market, Pike Brewing Company is home to two restaurants, The Pike Pub and Tankard & Tun.
“I designed Pike Brewing to be a hundred-year-old brewery like those I worked with in Europe years ago,” said Charles Finkel, in a statement. “I’m 77-years-old, and I was looking for the right partner to help Pike’s legacy live on. SHG’s focus on iconic businesses and understanding of the Pacific Northwest experience made them the perfect partner to achieve that 100-year goal and beyond.”
This isn’t the first time that the brewery has sold an interest, or its outright ownership. Back in 1997, the Finkel’s sold the brewery and left the brewing business for nine years. Then in 2006, the couple purchased the brewery back as the couple missed it too much.
Founded in 2002 by Howard Wright, SHG is a privately held company that invests in iconic Pacific Northwest brands to unlock their next generation of success. SHG owns or has interests in hospitality, tourism, and transportation companies in Washington, Oregon, and California. Its investment portfolio includes the highly-regarded Ethan Stowell Restaurant Group, Kenmore Air, MTRWestern, along with family affiliated ownership of Seattle’s signature attractions the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass, the Sheraton Grand Seattle, and the Monterey Marriott.
“Pike Brewing Company embodies everything SHG seeks in an investment,” said SHG Chair and Founder Howard Wright, in a statement. “The company’s unique, high-quality products have helped define life in the Pacific Northwest for more than 30 years. Charles and Pike President Drew Gillespie are forward-looking and committed to securing and expanding their company’s future for generations to come. We can help them realize that dream.”
SHG partner Ethan Stowell Restaurants is also investing in Pike Brewing Company to help grow the iconic beer brand across the region and beyond.
“Pike Brewing’s products are among the Pacific Northwest’s signature beverage offerings,” said Ethan Stowell Restaurants CEO & Founder Ethan Stowell, in a statement. “We look forward to working with the Pike team to grow the brand and help get their excellent beers in front of even more people.”
The Pike Brewing Company executive team, led by Board Chair, Founder and Owner Charles Finkel, and President Drew Gillespie, will continue to lead the company as it deepens its local roots.
“Pike Brewing’s rise to iconic status and enduring success are directly attributable to its talented management team,” said Wright, in a statement. “Pike’s leadership commitment to quality and innovation is reflected not only by Pike’s bottom line but in the recognition and honors earned by their beers and restaurants. We look forward to working with and learning from Charles, Drew and their colleagues.”
Beyond the financial input, the other benefit of this investment from SHG is that the Pike Brewing management team will learn from SHG’s deep knowledge and insight.
“SHG’s experience operating best-in-class hospitality businesses offers us new tools,” said Gillespie, in a statement. “Their CFO, Glenn Corey, has already introduced us to aspects of finance that we didn’t have access to as a smaller business.”
While Pike Brewing’s business has been adversely affected by COVID-19, that reality is not central to the deal’s timing. The two parties started talking in late 2019 as Pike Brewing Company began its fourth decade. The conversations grew more serious following the June 2020 death of Charles’ wife and Pike Brewing co-founder, Rose Ann Finkel.
“One of our motivations for working with SHG is the potential for symbiotic relationships with other SHG companies,” said Gillespie, in a statement. “That’s part of what makes this a very exciting partnership for us.”
Both Pike and SHG also expect to boost the on-going efforts to thoughtfully expand Pike Brewing’s presence in the Puget Sound region, Washington in State, and beyond — including Oregon, California, and Japan. A Japanese company currently operates a Pike Pub under license in Chubu Centrair International Airport, located outside Nagoya in central Japan.
Terms of the investment from SHG in Pike Brewing were not disclosed.
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.