Party like it’s 1981 at Redhook’s 30th birthday bash

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Thirty may not seem like a big number, but in the world of craft brewing, it’s significant.

"For an industry that really only got started in the early 80s, 30 is an important milestone," explains Robert Rentsch, director of marketing for Redhook. "And it deserves a celebration."

Rentsch is referring to the upcoming birthday bash that Redhook is throwing at its Woodinville facility to mark the notable occasion.The event has the makings of a huge party, with up to 5,000 people expected for an evening of entertainment, food and, of course, beer. Attendees will get to rock out to headliner Devo and opening acts The Psychedelic Furs and Tom Tom Club, with special guest Mitten. If you sense an 80s theme to the event, you’re on the right track.

"Redhook was incorporated in 1981," says Rentsch, "and we wanted to get some big 80s groups to tie it all together. We’re really excited about the music because it’s such a great line-up."

Redhook was the inspiration of Gordon Bowker, who years ago was determined to start his own brewery, convinced that the growing import beer market could support a domestic brewer of high-quality beers. At that time, there wasn’t a craft brewing industry. Redhook became a maverick by virtue of its early emergence as a microbrewery. Today, the company produces 160,000 barrels a year and is known for its well-balanced and flavorful European-style beers. The most popular, according to Rentsch, is the Redhook E.S.B., with the Redhook Pilsner a close second.

"We have a core line-up of four beers, along with three seasonal ones," notes Rentsch. "And then there’s our Blue Line series, which is our backyard beer because it’s only available in Washington and Oregon."

For the party, there will be a specially brewed creation that gives a nod to the 80s.

"The Extra Special Birthday Beer is a highly modified version of one of our current beers, but with a banana note to it that comes from the type of yeast used," adds Rentsch. "It brings us full circle because the first beer that Redhook made got the nickname of ‘banana beer’ because it had a bit of a banana flavor to it."

In explaining Redhook’s image, Rentsch uses the words "fun," "community engagement" and "highly drinkable beer."

He says the company strives to offer various events such as live music and movie nights as a way to connect with the community.

It also provides tours of its facility to the public in an attempt to expose more people to its brand, as well as to educate them about the craft beer-making process.

As for the future of the company, Rentsch comments, "We’re going to keep doing what we love and hopefully we’ll be around for another 30 years."

What: Redhook’s 30th Birthday Celebration (21+ only)

When: September 17 (gates open at 3 p.m., music starts at 4:30 p.m.)

Where: Redhook Brewery in Woodinville

Tickets: available for purchase at or on site at the Forecasters Public House ($30 in advance, $40 at the gate)

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