Bellingham is known for its scenic hiking trails, consecutive rainy days and a vast selection of locally crafted beers with plenty of places to drink them. Despite it’s small size, Bellingham now has more breweries per capita than Seattle or Portland, with 12 breweries currently in operation. As the beer scene has expanded, brewery owners have created a community of support so that bar-goers can always enjoy a frosty pint. Sales in the craft beer industry have continued to grow, and not just in Bellingham. According to the Brewer’s Association, craft breweries increased to 12.3 percent of the overall U.S. beer market in 2016 from 5.7 percent 2011. Bellingham’s love of beer is evident in its recent brewery-boom. Within the last five years, Bellingham has welcomed eight new breweries onto the scene: Kulshan Brewing Company, Aslan Brewing Company, Wander Brewing, Stones Throw Brewery, Gruff Brewing Company, Structures Brewing, Menace Brewing, and now Melvin Brewing Bellingham. Melvin Brewing is Bellingham’s newest addition to the brewery scene. Located on Meridian street, Melvin opened its doors on Saturday, June 3, for a soft opening. Although Melvin Brewing originated in Jackson, Wyoming, owner Jeremy Tofte has ties to Washington, since he is originally from Mount Vernon. Melvin currently has three local beers on tap from neighboring brewers: an amber from Kulshan, French India Farmhouse Ale from Aslan and Together Belgian Dubbel from Wander. Some might think Bellingham’s student population would contribute to the number of dedicated beer drinkers keeping the brewery industry afloat. However, local brewery employees say students do not necessarily make up the majority of patrons. Kamarie Astrid, a beertender at Kulshan, said the amount of students frequenting Kulshan’s locations is actually very low. “The college population is probably the least influential in the actual breweries because the students generally tend to go to Aslan or whatever is downtown, when we have lots of breweries popping up everywhere,” Astrid said. Astrid has observed that Kulshan tends to attract more of a Generation X crowd. “I think what it has to do with is the fact that we have a really great culture of people that are owning [and running] businesses in town,” Astrid said. Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro is Bellingham’s largest operating brewery, and has earned both local and national acclaim for popular beers like the Scotch Ale, which has been brewed since the day Boundary opened, and the Cedar Dust IPA. The brewery will be celebrating 23 years of business in September of this year.