What was once thought to be impenetrable — the Cascade Curtain is coming down as Spokane, Wash.-based No-Li Brewhouse goes west to satisfy forward-thinking Seattle beer drinkers at both the city’s professional sports stadiums: Century Link Field and Safeco Field.
No Li Crystal Bitter ESB is first on tap at the home of the Seattle Mariners, SafeCo Field, while Born & Raised IPA is being poured at Century Link Field, home of the Seattle Sounders FC and Seattle Seahawks.
“Most native Seattleites grew up with a strong prejudice against anything to the east, starting with Bellevue and continuing across Eastern Washington all the way to New York City,” said Mark Irvin, co-founder and brewmaster of No Li Brewhouse and native of Spokane. “Forward-thinking Seattleites were raised to look west, to the Pacific Rim, or north to Alaska. The east was always yesterday, that is until No Li. And what could be better than a good beer to bring down the Cascade Curtain? It’s the perfect olive branch!”
As both the east and west sides of the state embrace No Li, the co-founders are expanding No Li’s brewing capacity with 7,000 additional square feet and three more fermentation tanks. And as the company expands west, it’s simultaneously going overseas to Sweden. Earlier this year, No-Li’s award-winning Crystal Bitter ESB and Born & Raised IPA were awarded distribution in Sweden by the Swedish government at last fall’s Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival.
No-Li ended 2012 impressively, earning accolades as a top brewery to watch in 2013 by Draft Magazine and Crystal Bitter named one of 21 top U.S. Beers of the Year and Best of the Northwest by the Seattle Post Intelligencer, according to Irvin. The brewery also earned several international awards. In its freshman year, Irvin and No-Li beers earned a gold medal at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival, gold and silver medals at the 2012 Japan International Beer Competition, two silver medals at the 2012 Brussels International Beer Competition and a bronze medal at the 2012 European Beer Star Competition.
What was formerly known as the Northern Lights Brewing Co. was renamed No-Li Brewhouse last April. Irvin and craft beer industry veteran John Bryant, both with deep roots in Spokane, are the force behind the company. In addition to Spokane, No-Li is now distributed in Colorado, Maryland and Washington D.C.