When you think of beer pairings, what things come to mind? Burgers? Pizza? Banking?
If that third option throws you off, then you might not be a member of O Bee Credit Union.
The Tumwater-based financial institution was founded 63 years ago by an Olympia Brewery bottle house worker who organized his co-workers and created a company credit union: The Olympia Brewing Company Employees and Families Credit Union, which eventually was shortened to O Bee Credit Union.
In 2002, membership rules were changed to allow any Washington state resident or worker, not just brewery workers and their families. And while the original Tumwater brewery shut down the following year, O Bee Credit Union, which operates six branches throughout the South Sound, has continued to embrace its hoppy history. The company offers credit cards with the branded logos of Pabst, Oly Gold, and Rainier; is a member of the Washington Brewers Guild; and opened a beer-themed branch in Tenino last year.
This weekend in Tacoma, O Bee Credit Union will celebrate the grand opening of another one of these pub-style brewhouse branches.
Visitors will notice local brewery beer taps and brass railings along the teller line, wood hop barrels, towering brick walls, hand-painted murals, historical brewery images, and a chalkboard menu with “specials.”
True, the beer taps don’t work, and the hop barrels are empty. But the atmosphere aims to evoke the old brewery tasting room where community members met to socialize, and workers gathered after the end of a shift.
“Banks shouldn’t feel cold or impersonal, and having a brick and mortar establishment is important to our membership,” said O Bee Credit Union CEO James Collins. “We decided to have some fun with the design — with a nod towards our roots in the brewing industry.”
If you would like to experience pub-style banking, stop by the grand opening celebration of the new Point Ruston O Bee Credit Union branch (5062 Main St.) on Sat., Aug. 25, between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. More information is online here.