Sitting on a barstool in the Republic Brewing Co. taproom, pondering the lineup, I see a regular come in off the street and call out a number. 217, let's say. The barmaid takes a long wooden handle and slides the hook at the end around a ceramic mug hanging from the ceiling over the bar. The highest number is something over 300 and that many mugs are for sure hanging up there. Pretty good numbers for a mug club, you'd think. Consider this: Republic's entire population is just over 1,000 and all of Ferry County, up where the Rockies and the North Cascades merge into one big bunch of mountains and roll into British Columbia, the county has about 7500 people. A lot of the adults here are drinking Republic's craft beer.
The brewery is in a building that once served as the firehall. The doors can still slide up.