Pelican Brewing flies to Cannon Beach

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CANNON BEACH — Why add just one craft brewery when you can have two?

Pelican Brewing Co. intends to start construction soon and have a brewpub running in Cannon Beach by spring.

The city’s Design Review Board unanimously approved the company’s request for construction of a new building July 16.

But, Pelican won’t be the only new craft brewery in town, either.

An application for modifications to the Lumberyard Rotisserie and Grill for a partial reconfiguration to a craft brewery was given a thumbs up.

Pelican’s plans involve demolishing the former Dooger’s Seafood and Grill at 1371 South Hemlock St., which has been vacant since 2011.

“We did start out thinking we’d add to the existing building,” David Vonada of Tolovana Architect said. “When we started contemplating redesigning it, it turned out we were going to be adding onto it in about 40 directions. So at some point, we threw our hands up and said, ‘Let’s just replace it.’”

The brewpub will be Pelican’s third location. Pelican first opened in Pacific City in 1996, and a site in Tillamook was added in 2013. Co-owner Mary Jones said they “love being on the coast” and had contemplated this location for a number of years.

“It’s just a beautiful, vibrant community with a strong economy and really we feel like our brand fits well,” Pelican’s other co-owner, Jeff Schons, added.

Cannon Beach’s site will feature brewery tours and be similar to Pacific City’s menu-wise. John Newman was named Pelican’s new corporate chef and will develop and maintain menu creations at all three locations. Newman, owner of Newmans at 988, was one of Pelican’s chefs when the company first opened in 1996.

The 11,422-square-foot building will seat 160 inside and feature outdoor seating for 40 on the sunset side of the building, with a fire table to keep patrons warm during chilly days.

Walls on the brewery side will be designed to give visitors a peek at operations as staff work a seven-barrel brewing system, making about 600 barrels per year, Pelican CEO Jim Prinzing said.

He added that Cannon Beach’s location will be primarily utilized for research and development, collaborating with chefs and brewers from areas such as Portland. They’ll be “fun, one-off type of beers.”

He noted that production of core brands, such as Kiwanda Cream Ale, will remain at Tillamook.

Pelican has also acquired the Sunset Inn that sits next door. Prinzing said there are “no definitive plans for that property yet,” but that they are exploring the possibility of making it a “Pelican’s Nest” with pelican-themed rooms and a “beer-centric hotel experience” similar to that of the Dogfish Inn in Delaware.

Surrounded by pine trees, grasses and perennials, the building’s landscaping has been designed to make it look like a “landscaped dune,” Rita Frailey with Cannon Beach Landscape Services said.

Design Review Board members objected to the removal of the property’s cherry trees, however, noting they were unique to the city, and negotiated the planting of three healthy ones in a T-shaped zone in the parking lot.

While the exterior design is now complete, Prinzing said they still have the interior and brewery to work on. He doesn’t have any cost estimates yet for those.

He added they’ll begin the hiring process in December, and that Cannon Beach’s managers will likely start in Pacific City for training.

During peak season, he said they expect to have a staff of about 60 to 70 people. In the off-season, there will be 40 to 50 employees.

Vonada said they’re “counting on a heavy traffic flow,” and that he expects the new brewpub to draw more people to midtown.

Schons noted they may be “overly optimistic” about starting the brewpub construction in September and opening March 1.

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