Vice Beer brings nostalgia, fun and “2 extremes” of beer styles to Vancouver

Six months ago, four people had no idea they would own and operate a brewery in August.

Bria and Michael Perozzo ran the Juice Box, their Centralia beer bar. Cameron Johnson was a brewer and his wife, Erica Johnson, was a teacher.

Now the two couples — and unexpected business partners — opened Vice Beer, a brewery and dining venue in Vancouver’s east end on Friday that takes over the former space of Barlows Brewery, which closed after the pandemic.

“We were busy up north with the Juice Box,” Bria Perozzo said. “I vividly remember someone came by once and asked me when we were going to open a brewery, and I thought, never. others manufacture.

That all changed earlier this year when Barlows owners Brian and Alicia Rummer decided to sell Barlows and move back to their native Texas. The Rummers approached the Perozzos and the Johnsons to buy the business.

Michael Perozzo’s Zzeppelin agency handled Barlows’ marketing and branding, Bria ran Barlows’ tavern and Cam Johnson was his brewer, so the call made sense.

“It was really amazing that the Rummers thought of us when they were selling the brewery,” Bria said. They were like, if anyone can make it and do it well, it’s you. I said, wow thank you!”

A few months later, Vice opens to the public with two visions for its beer.

“From the start, we want to push the boundaries of what we consider two extremes,” said Michael Perozzo. “On one side you have the new school of beer, which is double dry hopped, double hazy IPA and smoothie sours and pastry stouts. At the other extreme you have the resurgence of lagers and all the different styles of lagers you can create. »

Vice is the second brewery stake for Cam Johnson, who founded Young Buck Brewing in a Spokane brewing incubator he helped launch in 2014. But he sold it in 2018 when the Johnsons moved to the Clark County to be closer to their family.

With degrees in architecture, Johnson later worked as an engineer for a brewing equipment manufacturer, but aspired to get back into brewing. A job as Barlows brewer came up, and he was back in the brewery. The opportunity to become part of the property when the Rummers left fulfilled his creative and technical side.

“It was nice to be back at a brewery and focus on making beer and building a brand, but without the stressors of ownership,” said Johnson, chief operating officer. of Vice. “But I found that to be moot and not reality. I couldn’t separate my mind from that element of ownership that I had developed in Spokane.

Smoothie sours and lagers

Johnson’s Vice Brewery’s first beers are on track for both paths described by Perozzo, including a sour pineapple-orange-guava smoothie, two dry-hopped double IPAs, a sour mimosa, other IPAs and a lager. lime mexican. Many pilsners are also planned, with one Italian and one Czech coming out soon.

They aren’t interested in what Perozzo called the “middle ground” of beer styles.

“I can’t tell you that we have immediate plans to brew a hefeweizen or a dark beer or a red beer – those aren’t on our list,” he said. “We’re going to leave the classic pub styles to other people.”

Vice has already completed numerous collaborations, including with Threshold Brewing & Blending, Trap Door Brewing and Fortside Brewing, to build brand awareness.

Perozzo’s agency, Zzeppelin, which he founded in downtown Vancouver, has been marketing and branding the region’s breweries for more than a decade. He said that for their own brewery, the Vice partners wanted to focus on the decades that raised them — and most drinkers right now.

“It’s the 80s and 90s,” he said. “We worked hard to make sure our spot didn’t fit a decade. You’re not going to walk in and out, my goodness, this place is straight out of the 80s. But there will be things that will remind you of your childhood or that time.

These things include a working rotary phone on the wall, and Vice will soon be releasing a beer whose name will include the number of this phone – one of many creative Vice beer names. The owners are setting up an arcade in the dining room which will include a four-player “The Simpsons Street Fighter 2” and a Ninja Turtle pinball machine.

Vice’s vibrant color palette is a mix of nostalgia, evoking fun times at beach parties and icons of decades past. Think the neon blues and pinks of Miami Vice, or the pink flamingos meeting the Parrotheads of a Jimmy Buffett concert, but all brought together with deft modern design.

“When you look at popular stuff from then, you see a lot of thematic stuff that comes from sunnier places,” said Michael Perozzo. “Certainly because of Vice, people are going, oh Miami Vice. If you look at the pictures or the logo of the show, you won’t find anything that we used, but people say it still makes them feel that .

The cans of Vice illustrate his creative approach. Each, Perozzo said, will have a QR code that says, “Do not scan.” But when the holder invariably scans, they will be redirected to an online video of the can design references.

“Michael, as marketing and branding assistant, did a great job establishing a graphic identity and theme,” Johnson said. “Pop culture as a whole has embraced nostalgia, so we feel like we’re hitting the sweet spot for the zeitgeist of craft beer culture and American culture as a whole right now.”

The partners’ business plan calls for 70% of Vice’s beer to be sold over the counter, with the rest packaged, said Perozzo, who along with Bria sold his stake in their Centralia beer bar when they launched. Vice. The Vice deal included the East Vancouver Brewery and Bar, but not Barlows Public House, a now-closed restaurant and bar in Vancouver’s waterfront development just west of the Interstate 5.

More taprooms planned

But they plan to open more taprooms, and a second is being developed in the near future in downtown Vancouver.

“Finding ways to put a pint in people’s hands rather than putting a can on the shelf is what successful small breweries will need to do to win in the future,” Perozzo said. “As a small brewery, if your plan is to sell a bunch of kegs and cans out the back door, those margins aren’t great. You need butts in the seats.

Creating fun and relaxing spaces falls to Bria Perozzo, who will manage the taprooms.

“In our beer and design, playing old VHS movies is the vibe,” she said. “It’s a fun, nostalgic vibe. I want the tavern to be a place to hang out, make friends, and feel welcome.

Erica Johnson, a communications and marketing teacher at Heritage High School, played an important role in setting up and running the brewery over the summer, and she will be an equal partner with Vice, the co-founders said. Perozzo said the majority owners also recruited many investors in exchange for minority stakes.

The partners recognize the highly competitive craft beer market in the Portland and Vancouver area, but say they believe in their business plan, the quality of their beer, and their ability to create fun and enjoyable spaces in the areas. underserved.

“We want to create cool communities where people can hang out and drink cold beers,” said Michael Perozzo, “and maybe feel like a kid again.”

If you are going to

What: Vice Beer, a new brewery and bar in East Vancouver, with indoor seating for about 45 people, plus two outdoor patios for another 45.

When: Opens today; scheduled hours are 4-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 4-11 p.m. Friday, 2-11 p.m. Saturday, and tentatively noon-7 p.m. Sunday. The Vice website is under construction, but follow Vice on social media for updates and any schedule changes.

Where: 705 SE Park Crest Ave.

Food: El Viejon will be the permanent food truck, serving seafood and tacos from Jalisco, as well as birria.

Selection list:

  • Micromachine Micro IPA (3.8% ABV)
  • Mimosa Sour Breakfast Club (5% ABV)
  • Batteries not included Double Dry-hopped Hazy IPA (6.5% ABV)
  • Cut My Lime (Chunked) Mexican Lime Lager (5% ABV)
  • Arguing with strangers on the internet Double Dry-hopped Double Hazy IPA (8.5% ABV)
  • Stay classy San Diego-style IPA; Trap Door Brewing Collaborative (7.5% ABV)
  • You’re all set for this Hazy Double Dry Hopped IPA; Threshold Brewing & Blending Collaborative (8.2% ABV)
  • Act like you know Thiolized IPA; Fortside Brewing Collaborative (6.5% ABV)
  • Movin’ To The Country Peach Cobbler Smoothie Sour; Stemma Brewing collaboration (5% ABV)
  • POG DRIP Smoothie Sour Pineapple Orange Guava (5% ABV)

— André Meunier; subscribe to my weekly newsletter Oregon Breweries and Newsand follow me on Instagram, where I follow @oregonianbeerguy.

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