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People in Cle Elum will no longer need to travel to Snoqualmie Pass to use the Dru Bru taproom. Co-Owner Dru Ernst said the company hopes to have its taproom open early to mid-August, give or take a week or two.

“Now I think we are on the home stretch,” Ernst said. “I keep joking that we are going to be about to open and the governor is gonna say we are all shut down again.”

The taproom will be a part of a building Dru Bru has been using as a warehouse for its production facilities for around a year. Opening a taproom in this warehouse has always been a part of the plan, but the original opening date of Memorial Day was pushed back because of the coronavirus restrictions. The taproom will be located at 1015 E. Second St. in Cle Elum.

The long-term plan for taproom is to bring more indoor seating to the taproom, and possibly turn it into a restaurant much later down the road. The warehouse gives Dru Bru space to work, and Ernst said they will be moving the majority of their production to the location. He said they have “maxed out” the production space at their Snoqualmie location, and it is a small miracle they are producing as much beer as they are.

“We never intend to leave Snoqualmie Pass in terms of having a presence there, having retail there and probably continuing to make small experimental, like funner, batches of beer on a smaller scale system after we move,” Ernst said.

The coronavirus has slowed construction of the taproom. Ernst said they have a new challenge every day, this could be getting shutdown completely or having construction come to a halt. Recently, construction crews have had to get pulled from the job because of the outbreak. He said they had a drywall crew who couldn’t show up because they were all being quarantined.

“The whole thing has definitely been an experience,” Ernst said. “It is constantly being effected by the pandemic.”

The project is close to finally being completed. The new taproom will be around the same size as the one in Snoqualmie, but with a larger outdoor seating area. This will allow people to use the taproom while social distancing.

Ernst said they will be expanding their non-alcoholic drink options and will hopefully be able to turn the taproom into more of a family-friendly location. They are also looking to partner with local wineries so they can feature their products.

“We are super pumped about getting open over there,” Ernst said. “We have a lot of ideas and fun concepts that we’re hoping to bring to life for our customers that range between having a drive in movie theater, because we have this two-acre parking lot, to doing lots of fun kids activities as well. … We are really looking to make this, leaning further into our family focused place. A place where people can come who aren’t just craft beer lovers.”

Ernst said they originally bought the location in Cle Elum because it fit with their brand. The mountains are a huge part of Dru Bru as a brand, they have changed their slogan to “Mountain Made.” Ernst said this is more than where they make their beer, but it’s the lifestyle that everyone who is involved in the business live.

“We live in the mountains, we play in the mountains,” Ernst said. “We do everything up there. Cle Elum is an extension of that and is also a big mountain town.”

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