In Sidney, hometown boy makes good — beer, that is
SIDNEY — Travis Peterson’s career as a civil engineer lasted five years.

A native of Sidney, Peterson graduated from Sidney High School in 2001 and went on to earn a civil engineering degree from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. Then he headed to the West Coast, where he worked as a marine contractor. He enjoyed working on bridges, piers and other projects, and he was good at at it, but he had other interests as well.

One of them was good beer, and as he said, his five years on the West Coast coincided with “the rise of craft beer.”

Thanks to the influence of his parents, Gail and Rhonda Peterson — who did a biking-and-beer tour of Belgium a few years back — he had been a fan of craft beer since high school, when he got his first home-brewing kit. He said he continued brewing through college and his years on the coast, building up a large collection of brewing supplies.

He visited every brewery he could and often thought of opening one himself someday, but when he went back to Sidney in 2009, it was only because his father was having some health troubles and needed help managing the family business, Sidney Red-E-Mix. Peterson and his then-girlfriend, Emily, both moved to Sidney and were married later that year.

On a family trip to Mexico, Peterson said, his parents made the pitch: Why didn’t he settle down in Sidney and open a brewery there? He was against the idea at first, thinking a brewery would never fly, but as he recalled it, his parents said to him, “If Wibaux can have a brewery, Sidney can have a brewery.”

And that was that. Peterson said he began getting in touch with some of the brewers he had met over the years, asking them questions about the business, the beer and everything in between.

“We started figuring things out,” he said.

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