Food & Culture

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.

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