Sometimes, all a brewery needs is a good name and a fun vibe. That was the case for Everett, Washington’s Lazy Boy Brewing, which identifies partly with its owner’s past, but mostly with the relaxed environment a good beer should be a part of.
“The name goes back a long way,” says owner and brewmaster Shawn Loring. “I used to work at Pike Place Brewing in the early ’90s. There was a group of guys that I’d homebrew with, and we started calling ourselves ‘The Lazy Boys.’ It kind of represented all of us as a collective.”
The name was fitting because Loring and company took their time and brewed at their own pace. Over time, the Lazy Boy Bitter became the flagship beer in their DIY “brewery” in Cheyenne, Wyo.
“People would always try Lazy Boy Bitter just because it had kind of an odd name,” Loring says.
Following a move to the Seattle area, the name for Loring’s newest brewing outfit was a no-brainer. Lazy Boy Brewing was born in May 2006, with Loring handling the brewing duties at the 15-barrel facility, while his wife and father-in-law helped with the business side.
To complete the Lazy Boy image, a good logo was needed. Enter the brewery’s laid-back, beer-bellied cartoon character.
“At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be associated with a little cartoon character, [but the logo] is cute!” Loring chuckles. “Beer is supposed to be fun. Forget traditional, there’s so much competition out there—you have to have a hook.”
And it appears Lazy Boy’s hook is working quite well.
“People say ‘I just gotta try it because of the logo,’” Loring says. “Everybody’s got somebody in their family that looks like that, or a buddy that’s a little plump. They identify [with it].”
But just because the logo is light-hearted doesn’t mean Lazy Boy doesn’t take its beers seriously. Loring has racked up enough praise for people to take him seriously, and now he’s adding medals to his accolades. His Belgian Strong Ale recently took the gold at the North American Beer Awards in Idaho.
The flagship Northwest style IPA is backed with a solid lineup of different styles, including a German-inspired hefeweizen, a chocolatey porter, an English-style amber ale perfect for the damp Northwest and a Christmas seasonal with enough alcohol kick to keep you warm all winter. And though Lazy Boy is only distributed throughout Western Washington and Northern Oregon, Loring plans to slowly expand his market as the brewery grows—at a nice ‘n’ lazy pace. –Si Robins