Dick’s Brewing Company Raises a Pint to Celebrate 20 Years of Craft Brewing

dick brewing
Dick Young's love of homebrewing grew into a successful business he loved.


By Kate Scriven

dicks brewing
Dick Young lived life with the philosophy, “work hard, play harder” including time on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, now located at the Dick’s Brewery.

Twenty years is a long time.  Twenty years ago I was a college sophomore balancing my ever important social life with my studies at the University of Washington.  Now, I balance a family, home, job, community, and maybe a little social life as well.  A lot can change in 20 years.

For Dick’s Brewing Company, 20 years is a long time, too.  Growing from their roots in homebrewing, Dick’s has become a thriving craft brewery with over 20 different recipes, their own bottling line, and distribution in six states.  A lot has changed for Dick’s as well.

It all began in 1984 when Dick Young, owner of Northwest Sausage and Deli and avid homebrewer began to brew his recipes in earnest.  Young built a three barrel brew house behind the deli and delighted in serving pints to friends and family.  In fact, his buddies were nicknamed “The Beer Test Dummies” for their role in testing the newest batches.  Young’s original system is still in use today as the pilot system for testing new recipes.

Young quickly found that demand for his tasty brews exceeded the annual production limits for homebrewing.  In 1992 he began the process to turn his hobby into a business and in 1994 Dick’s Brewing Company was born.

“People would ask my dad all the time why he started brewing beer,” recalls Julie Pendelton, Dick’s daughter and owner of Dick’s Brewing.  “My dad always answered, ‘I started brewing beer for one reason – I was thirsty.’”  Dick’s beer fans are so glad he was.

dick brewing
Dick’s Brewing Company started on a three barrel system located behind Northwest Sausage and Deli 20 years ago.

Production quickly expanded to a 2,100 square foot facility built adjacent to the deli and the flagship three beers were brewed weekly – Dick Danger Ale, Dick’s Pale Ale, and Dick’s Lava Rock Porter.

Production grew from 200 barrels in 1995 to 3,000 barrels in 2008.  They needed space.   A new 18,000 square foot facility on Galvin Road in Centralia was built to house operations, bottling, offices and a taproom.

On October 25, 2009 brewer, adventurer, father, sausage maker, and general mischief maker Dick Young passed away.  His death saddened an entire community.  However, his philosophy of “work hard, play harder” lives on through those who knew him and the crew at Dick’s loves nothing more than a good party.

This year, October 25, 2014, marks the five year anniversary of Young’s death.  Dick’s Brewing Company will celebrate 20 years of craft brewing with a party at their Centralia brewery and taproom.  The event runs from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. and will feature the Backfire Band along with delicious plates ($15 each) of pulled pork, coleslaw, beans and more from Northwest Sausage and Deli.

The celebration is one Dick himself would be proud to attend.  Not only is it a celebration of the rare longevity of 20 years in the craft industry, but it’s a celebration of Dick Young’s life well lived.  It’s a bittersweet celebration for those who knew him well.

dick brewing
Dick Young’s love of homebrewing grew into a successful business he loved.

One of those is Dr. Isaac Pope, longtime friend of Young’s, fan of NW Sausage and Deli and supporter of Dick’s Brewing.  “They just clicked,” recalls Pendelton of her Dad and Pope.  “They would have lunch together at the deli and they just became friends.”

After Young’s death, Dr. Pope approached Pendelton about hosting a memorial event at the brewery.  The memorial was organized as a fundraiser for Pope’s Kids Place, a Lewis County based charity providing respite care and medical support for families of medically fragile children.  As a pediatrician, Dr. Pope continued to see a need in his community and formed the charity to help fill the gap for so many families.

Young was a big supporter of his friend’s work and pairing the memorial with a fundraiser was a natural.  All funds raised from this year’s event, including food and raffles will go directly to Pope’s Kids Place.   Dick’s Brewing also sponsors the bowling tournament held on the same day.

Another highlight of the event will be the new Dick’s Midnight Ride Black IPA.  This new recipe has been received with rave reviews from beer aficionados and is a celebration of good things to come in the next 20 years for the craft brewery.

“I just can’t believe it’s been 20 years.  I look back at how old I was 20 years ago and think of the memories I have of my dad then – welding the tanks out in the driveway, brewing in the back of the deli, which I thought smelled just awful,” recalls Pendelton.  “I’ve come so far since then – enjoying beer, the smell of it, learning so much about it in the years I’ve been a part of it.  Dick’s is still here after 20 years and that’s a big deal in this industry.  It’s something to be proud of and something to celebrate.”

Celebrate with the Dick’s crew on October 25, 2014 from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the brewery and raise a pint to Dick Young’s legacy.  Here’s to twenty more, Dick.


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