A dozen years after pioneering the “nomadic brewing” model, Stillwater® has planted roots in the Pacific Northwest. For the first time, all production of its inventive and style-bending beers is concentrated at one location under founder Brian Strumke’s oversight and control: Grand Mound, Washington’s Talking Cedar. Opened by the Chehalis Tribal Enterprises in 2020, Talking Cedar is a 35,000-square-foot complex that houses a state-of-the-art brewery with a 60-barrel brew house, rows of 120-barrel fermenters, and multiple oak foedres. The distillery, which Strumke plans to utilize to make Stillwater® spirits, is thought to be the largest west of the Mississippi River. It’s a new era for the influential and acclaimed beverage company.
A former DJ and electronic music producer, Strumke launched Stillwater® from his native Maryland in 2010. But Stillwater® was conceived as a collaborative beer and art project without a fixed address. By design, Strumke’s recipes could be produced anywhere around the globe – and over the next thirteen years hundreds of them would be made across five continents. Early Stillwater® offerings like Cellar Door, Stateside Saison, and Classique effortlessly deconstructed and reassembled traditional styles. Later, Strumke brought hoppy sours and wild ales to the masses with trendsetting beers like Gose Gone Wild, Premium, and the Elevation series. And during his Contemporary Works and Modern Confusion periods, Stillwater® embraced IPA, imperial stout, and fruited tart ales – bringing creativity and refreshing self-awareness to overexposed styles.
Over the years, Stillwater® expanded the horizons of the world’s most prominent breweries and inspired now-stalwarts to enter the fray. Strumke forged deep creative relationships with fellow artists like progressive house legend Dubfire, folk troubadour Bonnie “Prince” Billy, and larger-than-life rapper Action Bronson. He moved from Baltimore to New York City to Seattle. He opened a restaurant. He designed beers for Las Vegas casinos and Japanese department stores. He became the brand’s sole visual artist. He launched Stillwater UK to create beers in Manchester, England expressly for European drinkers. He cofounded another brewery, Fast Fashion, which has already established a national reputation for its ultra-fresh IPAs and a proprietary hop named Anchovy. He even got sued by Kanye West.
“Stillwater® has always been a reflection of my journey through this world,” says Strumke. “The places I’ve visited. The culture I’ve consumed. The friends I’ve made along the way. It’s a dialogue with the things that excite and challenge me. I’ve experienced so much through Stillwater® over the last thirteen years, but with relocation to Washington and our partnership with the Chehalis Tribe, it genuinely feels like we’re only just now beginning.”