Food & Drink

Stoup to Buy Optimism Brewing

The planned sale allows Stoup to expand with a Capitol Hill location

By Rob Smith June 20, 2023

From left, Stoup co-founders Robyn Schumacher, Lara Zahaba and Brad Benson.

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2023 issue of Seattle magazine.

Two-well known Seattle breweries are joining forces.

Ballard’s Stoup Brewing has signed a deal to acquire Optimism Brewing. The acquisition will allow Stoup to open a location at Optimism’s spacious, 16,000-square-foot Capitol Hill space in August.

Husband-and-wife team Lara Zahaba and Brad Benson, along with Robyn Schumacher, opened Stoup in 2013 as a cornerstone of Ballard’s hopping Brewery District. Stoup also operates a second location in Kenmore.

Stoup last year was named the Washington Beer Awards’ Large Brewery of the Year.

Optimism opened in 2013. Two years later, founders and husband-and-wife team Troy Hakala and Gay Gilmore launched an ambitious rehabilitation of a century-old warehouse, a project Gilmore recalls was initially met with skepticism.

“People thought Troy and I were crazy to build such a large taproom in the middle of the city,” Gilmore recalls. “Stoup has what is required to scale the business to the next level.”

In an interesting twist, the founders of both breweries almost partnered on a bottle shop before either brewery opened, but the deal never materialized.

Gilmore and Hakala, who live on Capitol Hill, formerly worked at Microsoft. They said their growing family and Stoup’s desire to maintain the space as a neighborhood destination factored into their decision.

The couple will maintain ownership of the building. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Follow Us

Hoppy and Happy

Hoppy and Happy

Seattle Beer Week returns for its 15th year

I was enjoying a pint at my favorite Ballard brewery when I noticed the advertising flyer for the upcoming Seattle Beer Week. 

Getting Tanked in Pioneer Square

Getting Tanked in Pioneer Square

Seattle’s first ‘tank bar’ set to open early next year

Let’s skip the keg and get straight to the beer. The city’s first tank bar will soon open in the Pioneer Square neighborhood.

Fremont Brewing Sold

Fremont Brewing Sold

The popular Seattle brewer is joining forces with Pike Brewing

Seattle Hospitality Group has acquired a controlling interest in Seattle’s Fremont Brewing, three years after it acquired another iconic Seattle company, Pike Brewing.

Their Spirits Were Not Broken

Their Spirits Were Not Broken

Ballard’s only distillery finally opens after years of setbacks

Covid caused multiple delays in the fabrication of their stills in Germany. A 140-day concrete workers strike created more chaos during build-out, as did city permitting issues. Much of their equipment burned to the ground in a Kent warehouse fire...