Story #42Reuben’s BrewsSeattle, WA

When you run your own business, you’re really working for every single customer you have. I don’t have one boss, I have hundreds or thousands of them.

About a month after the birth of his son, Reuben, Adam Robbings received another gift that would change his life. The UK native has a love for beer in his blood, and after years of training his palate and studying brewing methods, his wife and son bought him a home brewing kit “to shut me up to some extent. I can’t talk about it anymore, I have to do it,” said Robbings.

Newborn Reuben could not possibly have known that the gift would go on to become the small, family-run business founded in his namesake, Reuben’s Brews.

Robbings’ obsession with brewing and commitment to perfection was quickly recognized. In his first year of brewing he won the people’s choice award in a Seattle commercial beer festival with thousands of attendees. However, Robbings was smart enough to know that he didn’t know enough to open a brewery just yet, and he enrolled in the University of California-Davis while continuing to perfect his craft on the side. His brother-in-law Mike King relocated from Illinois to help with the operation, and Reuben’s Brews opened its doors in August 2012.

Since then, their beers have won a number of awards, including a gold medal for their Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout at the 2015 World Beer Championships. They were also listed as a top 10 brewery in the 2013 and 2014 U.S. Open Beer Championship, which had over 3,000 beers entered in both years.

Despite their success, Reuben’s Brews doesn’t want to be the biggest brewery in the game. To Robbings, that’s just not what is important. While the company prepares to open a new, larger brewery in Seattle, their old space will be a place for Robbings to continue experimenting with different styles of beer in small batches, expanding his portfolio, and along the way, expanding the palate of true beer lovers like himself. While he would love to be known nationally and internationally, his product will continue to only be available in the Seattle area. The way he sees it, his customers are his bosses.

“When you run your own business, you’re working for many, many people… You’re really working for every single customer you have, and if you don’t understand that then I think you’ll have problems because you won’t be customer focused enough. I don’t have one boss, I have hundreds or thousands of them.”

 

Photos by Jared Moossy

  • The owner of Reuben’s Brews, Adam Robbings, and his employees taste a new batch of beer and talk about its flavor complexities.

  • The owner of Reuben’s Brews, Adam Robbings, and his team taste a new batch of beer and talk about its flavor complexities.

  • Adam Robbings and his family in the brewery. His wife Grace and son Reuben are the reason he got into the brewing industry, having brought him a home brewing kit years ago "to sort of shut me up to some extent. I can't talk about it anymore, I have to do it."

  • Adam Robbings, owner of Reuben's Brews, shows his team the new space and describes where everything will be.

  • A team member at Reuben's Brews holds a glass of beer in the light to inspect the color and body of the beverage.

  • Adam Robbings, owner of Reuben's Brews, and his team test a new batch of beer.

  • Adam Robbings meets with his graphic designer to look over mock-ups for his seasonal fall beer. Adam's passion, and his goal for Reuben's Brews, lies in experimentation and expanding the palate of his customers to try new and different tastes.

  • Mike Pfeiffer, brewer at Reuben's Brews, stirs the mixture of water and malted barley as part of the process to create wort.

  • In early 2013, Mike Pfeiffer took over running the brew days at Reuben's Brews. As Robbings and his wife Grace's brother, Pfeiffer plays an integral part in this family owned and operated business.

  • In his first year of brewing, Adam Robbings won the people's choice award at a Seattle commercial beer festival. Instead of trying to rush into opening a brewery, Robbings enrolled at UC Davis and also kept his job on the side for the first 18 months that Reuben's Brews was open. Today they are quickly being regarded as one of the best breweries in Washington and the Pacific Northwest.

Business Details

Proprietor: Adam & Grace Robbings
1406 NW 53rd Street, Ste. 1A Seattle, WA 98107
PH: 206-784-2859 / Website
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