MONROE — Todd and Amy Nystrom, the owners of the Hull-Oakes Lumber mill, have decided to try their hand at a different kind of business: craft brewing.
The couple unveiled their plans to open the Long Timber Brewing Co., a 10,000-square-foot brewpub at 180 N. Fifth St. in Monroe, with a groundbreaking ceremony at the site on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s a little bit of a leap,” Todd Nystrom acknowledged. “But we’re good business people.”
About 60 people attended the event, which featured a barbecue dinner, conceptual drawings of the planned brewpub and a flatbed truck holding a massive 12-inch-by-30-inch-by-60-foot Douglas fir beam that will run the length of the building’s roof.
Hull-Oakes always has been known for milling big logs, and exposed timbers will figure prominently in the brewpub’s design.
“There’s going to be 218 beams in the building,” Nystrom said, adding that old logging and sawmill equipment will form a big part of the pub’s décor.
The two-story structure was designed by Corvallis architect Lori Stephens, who also did the design work for the Monroe Community Library just up the street. Bob Grant Construction of Corvallis is the general contractor on the project.
Project manager Carl VanHuss said the building should be ready to open by next fall.
“Depending on the weather, we’re looking at nine or 10 months, approximately,” he said.
The main dining room and bar will be on the ground floor, as will the 10-barrel brewery, which will have its own taproom and will be surrounded with windows so patrons can look in on the brewing process. There also will be a 700-square-foot meeting room and a wine bar.
Upstairs will be offices and mezzanine-style seating areas that look down on the main floor.
Altogether, the pub will be able to accommodate about 190 people indoors, with additional outdoor seating both upstairs and downstairs in nice weather.
The Long Timber Brewing Co. will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and breakfast Monday through Friday. The menu is still in the formative stages but will feature a wide assortment of appetizers and comfort food as well as high-end entrees such as steaks.
“We’re going to have a little bit of everything,” Nystrom promised.
While Nystrom and his wife know plenty about the lumber business, they admitted that they’re newcomers to running a brewery and restaurant. To make sure their new venture is in capable hands, they’ve been consulting with Marc Martin of Northwest Brewery Advisors and plan to hire an experienced brewmaster, restaurant manager and head chef.
“We’re going to try to find good people,” Nystrom said. “We’re going to own it, but they’re going to run it.”
The wine bar will be the province of the couple’s daughter, Natalie Payne, who owns the nearby Sweet Earth Vineyards with her husband, Nick. She plans to feature varietals from her winery and possibly others in the neighborhood.
“This is a growing area for the wine industry,” Payne said.
In addition to branching out into the growing craft brewing industry, Nystrom said he’s hoping to provide a bit of a boost to Monroe. With an overall value of about $1.8 million, the Long Timber Brewing Co. will be one of the biggest commercial developments that the south Benton County community of about 600 people has seen in years.
“There hasn’t been anything happening in Monroe forever,” Nystrom said.
“We want to invest in our town because if we don’t do it, who else is going to do it?”