SEATTLE – Haley Keller has merged beer, bicycling and her Catholic social justice values into a business that aims to build community.
Trivia and movie nights, “pun slams,” live music and cycling advocacy events are among the offerings at Peddler Brewing Co., which the Seattle University alumna founded in 2013 with her now-husband Dave Keller.
On certain nights, the couple offers Peddler’s space to nonprofit groups as a low- to no-cost venue for fundraisers, with $1 per pint sold going to charity.
Haley and Dave Keller brewed a special batch of beer for their 2015 wedding. Photo: Sparkfly Photography.
“Those are the kinds of things that really keep me going when I get run down,” Keller said. “We are giving back to our community in ways that we can as a business.”
Peddler is “a safe space for people, a gathering place,” she said. “Being open and welcoming to everyone has been something that has always been important to me, and I see that relating to my Catholic values.”
A strong value system
Born Haley Woods, Keller grew up in St. Jude Parish in Redmond. Her parents were active in the parish and Haley was an altar server, participated in retreats and led a middle-school youth group.
After graduating from Lake Washington High School in Kirkland, the opportunity for a well-rounded education made her gravitate toward Catholic universities, Keller said. She attended the College of St. Catherine in Minnesota, where she was involved in campus ministry. Then she transferred to Seattle University, where she completed her bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 2007 and a master’s degree in teaching in 2010.
“I could really tell the teachers cared about me,” Keller said of her university experiences. “They were genuinely interested in my success and willing to put in the extra time to help me.”
Keller said she also found a strong value system “that I felt was deep into all my classes. ... Even in non-religious classes, there was always a strong social justice part to them.”
Haley Keller. Photo: Courtesy Kelsey Lane
After meeting Dave Keller, Haley started learning about and liking two of his hobbies: beer and bicycles.
Dave was into home brewing and taught her about the brewing process and different beer styles. She also learned to appreciate city cycling both for the enjoyment of it and as a way to get around town.
Beer and bicycles
Eventually the couple decided to combine those passions and start their brewery. Both continued working full time — Haley as a math teacher at Lake Washington High School and Dave as a Boeing engineer — while doing all of the construction and outfitting of the brewery space themselves. She remembers it as an overwhelming experience with zero free time.
But just as the brewery idea was fermenting, Keller joined Seattle U’s first Contemplative Leaders in Action cohort.
CLA, a two-year leadership program for Jesuit-educated young adults, is rooted in Ignatian spirituality with an emphasis on social justice and community building. The program is a part of the university’s young alumni group, “Magis: Alumni Living the Mission.”
Keller’s CLA cohort became an important support system to lean on during the hectic time of launching her business and beyond.
“I think the CLA program especially has been helpful for me to find a group of like-minded young Catholics that are still enthusiastic about the church,” she said.
Keller said she relates strongly to Jesuit spirituality and “the social justice aspect and the pure giving and love aspect that I see coming from the Catholic Church.”
Haley and Dave Keller were married at Seattle University’s Chapel of St. Ignatius on Aug. 22, 2015. Photo: Sparkfly Photography
Actions, not words
Keller maintains strong ties to Seattle University: She and Dave were married last summer at the university’s Chapel of St. Ignatius, where Haley regularly attends Sunday Mass.
She is active with the CLA and Magis communities, joining activities like a recent Ignatian leadership series for women. Many CLA and Jesuit-connected alumni can be found at the brewery, Keller said, and a few even work there.
She strives to follow Catholicism’s emphasis on “showing God’s love through your actions, not your words.”
So, Keller serves on the Cascade Bicycle Club’s board of directors and pushes for bike accessibility and safety issues in the Seattle area. The brewery recently hosted events against human trafficking and in support of Sierra Club and Futurewise, a Seattle-based sustainability organization.
“She’s very passionate around and committed to social justice,” said Brooke Rufo-Hill, Magis’ director.
“They could just have a brewery and that would be awesome,” Rufo-Hill said of the 30-something couple. “But they are really trying to use it as a platform to promote these other issues they are passionate about.”