When Dashia and Mike Hopp imagined starting a business, they envisioned a cute little dive bar — in Maui.
The reality is a bit different. The West Richland couple will introduce Bombing Range Brewery Co. to the Mid-Columbia later this week.
The region’s newest brewery opens at 2000 Logston in the Tri-Cities Enterprise Center business incubator near Horn Rapids. The space was formerly occupied by White Bluffs Brewing Co.
Bombing Range leased the spot from the Port of Benton after White Bluffs outgrew the 2,800-square-foot space and moved into a nearby building.
The new brewery will hold its grand opening celebration from noon to 2 p. Sept. 24, with the fresh Out of the Box food truck on site.
Like White Bluffs, Bombing Range is starting small, with five taps and capacity to brew seven barrels. The Hopps dream of expanding into food service and their own building, ideally on Bombing Range Road in West Richland. They had hoped to open there to start, but the stars lined up around the old White Bluffs space instead.
The port was supportive of its growing cluster of microbreweries at Horn Rapids, Dashia Hopp said. And the incubator’s startup-friendly rent made it easier to launch a business.
“Thank God they have that,” she said.
The Hoppses didn’t disclose the investment, but said the venture is financed with their personal savings, a home equity loan and a commercial equipment loan from Community First Bank.
The brewery will have two of Mike Hopp’s microbrews on tap, two guest taps and a cider. It will serve snacks and host food trucks. Bombing Range and the port hope to make use of a commercial oven next door in the former Ethos Bakery site to bring food to the new brewery. Ethos consolidated in north Richland, but its oven was built into the Logston space and didn’t make the move.
Mike dates his fascination with microbrews to the 1990s and began brewing at home about five years ago. He’s inspired by pioneers such as Full Sail Brewery, Rogue Ales & Spirits and Crux Fermentation Project. His tastes range from stout German and Belgian styles to Northwest IPS and lighter ales.
He’s brewing for his own taps to begin, but hopes to distribute Bombing Range in the future as the business grows.
The transformation from home brewer to commercial brewery was a longtime dream for both Hopps.
The couple met when they both worked at the Richland Red Robin about 20 years ago and have been married for 16. He now works for the city of Grandview, and she’s a paralegal for a Tri-City law firm that contracts with local cities to prosecute cases in municipal court.
Serendipity and the strong support of friends helped them turn their entrepreneurial dreams into reality.
About a year ago, Dashia went online and applied for a brewers license, to the surprise of her husband. Friends helped them put the dream together, including a business plan.
“We wouldn’t be here without our friend base,” Mike said.
With Bombing Range Brewing, the Tri-Cities Enterprise Center is home to three local breweries, including White Bluffs and Shrub Steppe Brewing.
“It’s a microbrewery destination,” Dashia said.