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Case Study: Otherlands Embraces Lager & Hospitality

In Bellingham, Washington, the cozy Otherlands brewery-café offers a lesson in Old World–inspired hospitality—as well as the risks and potential rewards of sticking stubbornly to a vision for your business.

Joe Stange Jan 20, 2022 - 26 min read

Case Study: Otherlands Embraces Lager & Hospitality Primary Image

Photo: Janette Casolary

It’s spring in northwest Washington, and Otherlands Beer is not on our radar—we haven’t even heard of it, to be honest—but when enough brewers in the area say you need to go to a place, you go.

One thing is clear upon arrival: This is not a taproom—it’s a café. The sidewalk terrace bustles in the last hours of sunlight as guests enjoy falafel, salads, and tall krugs of helles. There are flowers on the tables, inside and out. Upstairs, there are two Lukr side-pull taps on the bar and enamel signs from a few of Europe’s best small breweries. The hospitality is not built around the brewery—on the contrary, the seven-barrel kit is off to the side, not the main attraction. It supplies the café without being its only reason for existence.

This place is not like the others, and that’s part of why it appeals to those brewers—and why European-inspired, lager-centric Otherlands has grown a strong following in Bellingham, about 90 miles north of Seattle.

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Joe Stange is Managing Editor of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and the Brewing Industry Guide®. Have story tips or suggestions? Contact him at [email protected].