West Seattle businesses: Swinery owner Joseph Brewer mourned

A well-known West Seattle business is dealing with tragedy tonight. The Swinery was closed today, with a note on the door (photo here) saying the store was “closed today (Saturday) due to a family emergency …” That turned out to be a death in the store’s family … its owner, Chef Joseph Brewer: Tonight, Swinery manager Amie Collier confirmed Mr. Brewer’s death to WSB contributor Christopher Boffoli, who reported last year on the changes that eventually led to Mr. Brewer taking over the popular store. We do not know the circumstances of his death; Collier did not wish to comment further. The note on the store’s door this afternoon (we saw it after going to The Swinery to check on a telephoned tip about this) said they plan to be open tomorrow (Sunday). Here’s Mr. Brewer’s biography from The Swinery’s website. (2010 photo at right by Christopher Boffoli)

51 Replies to "West Seattle businesses: Swinery owner Joseph Brewer mourned"

  • M Slye April 9, 2011 (11:19 pm)

    This is so sad. I stopped by today and saw the note on the door but never imagined this… My heart goes out to Mr Brewer’s family and co workers. RIP

  • FullTilt April 9, 2011 (11:39 pm)

    I will miss the morning Haipu buddy.

  • Diane April 9, 2011 (11:48 pm)

    Oh no; it was just 2 months ago he was the rave of FareStart newsletter, as first graduate to host guest chef’s night:
    “A FareStart First: Graduate Returns as Guest Chef this Thursday
    Chef Joseph Brewer, who graduated from FareStart in 2007, is now a co-owner of the Swinery in West Seattle and will be our Guest Chef this Thursday, February 3rd.”
    “A native of Washington State, Joseph Brewer (aka “Joey the Butcher”) discovered his passion for cuisine during his formative years in New York City, cooking in various kitchens throughout one of the world’s greatest food cities. Upon returning to Seattle in his late twenties, the young chef encountered personal setbacks that threatened to derail his culinary dreams. Joey joined the FareStart culinary job training progam in 2007 where he received valuable training and support, as well as the opportunity to work alongside celebrated Seattle chefs. Joey went on to find success in a supervisory position at The 5 Spot, handling everything from menu development to inventory. In 2009, Joey joined Jak’s Grill in West Seattle as the lead line cook where his commitment to producing the highest quality food led him to The Swinery, where he is now the head butcher and co-owner.
    FareStart is thrilled to honor Chef Brewer and we invite you to join the celebration by making your reservations.”

  • Wendy Hughes-Jelen April 9, 2011 (11:53 pm)

    Ack! This is terrible! I am sorry for his family’s loss both at the shop and relations. I have had wonderful visits with him.

  • grr April 10, 2011 (12:24 am)

    wow :(((( Seeing him at Hotwire all the time, and the Swinery…it won’t be the same. RIP pal.

  • dawsonct April 10, 2011 (1:06 am)

    I always really enjoyed our interactions. It’s nice, and distressingly rare in our profession, to be around people who actually enjoy talking about the work. I was really looking forward to getting to know him better. He seemed like a real decent person; what a loss.

  • Chris April 10, 2011 (3:22 am)

    Wow..I just saw Joey last week. This is really terrible news..He will be missed by the entire community. My condolences to his family and the family at The Swinery. RIP Joey

  • CB April 10, 2011 (7:05 am)

    Very sad news. We’re big fans of the Swinery. Condolences to friends and family.

  • cjboffoli April 10, 2011 (8:49 am)

    With as much drama as the Swinery had seen from its inception, it was somehow appropriate that the business would find a sense of balance in ultimately being run by this very capable, warm, humble man. Joey had a tremendous amount of talent when it came to food. But I was also really impressed with how smart he was about the business end of things. It was clear that he loved what he was doing, which I think is something we all aspire to. Above all I think I’ll miss his easygoing manner and his terrific sense of humor. Everything about his presence at the Swinery embodied the very best of what a locally-owned business can offer. He will be greatly missed.

  • RJB April 10, 2011 (8:59 am)

    So sorry….so sad. Thoughts to his family and co workers.

  • johnnyblegs April 10, 2011 (9:17 am)

    This was such a surprise to read this morning. Joey gave me the chance to sell my goods in his shop. I learned a lot watching him take apart pigs and his eyes light talking about his passion for butchery. Thanks Joey. You will be sorely missed.

  • Jasperblu April 10, 2011 (10:14 am)

    I’m very sorry to hear this news. So sad. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends right now. I can’t imagine how they must be feeling. Wishing them some measure of peace trough the grieving process. :(

  • Big B April 10, 2011 (10:24 am)

    This is a great loss for Seattle’s food scene and even greater loss for the friends and family that he has left behind…I send my condolences to them and thank you Joey for being a great Teacher, Chef and Butcher…

  • Kathryn Kane April 10, 2011 (10:26 am)

    I’m so sorry for your loss! Good thoughts going out for Amie and all the Swinery crew.

  • Liza April 10, 2011 (10:31 am)

    Joey. I miss you so much.

  • andera swanson April 10, 2011 (12:05 pm)

    i can’t believe you’re really gone…the world is not same without you in it…i miss you friend

  • Anne McGowan April 10, 2011 (12:27 pm)

    Joey was the love of my daughter Amie and big part of all our lives. The loss of him has ripped our hearts out and will take forever to heal . I sit and look around my house and realize I will never see him in the chair sleeping after we all gathered in the kitchen to cook a great meal. He was bigger than life . I don’t want him to be gone. Please pray for Amie
    I love you Joseph Brewer

  • waman April 10, 2011 (12:51 pm)

    another talented young chef dead – http://www.king5.com/news/local/TIMES-Seattle-chef-burger-man–119001009.html – coincidence? weird

  • corra April 10, 2011 (12:53 pm)

    This is really sad news. My husband and I have made the Swinery a part of our regular weekend routine. Joey was always so helpful and nice. Sending out good thoughts to his friends and family.

  • Doug April 10, 2011 (1:38 pm)

    So sorry to hear the terrible news. I loved the having the blood hash for breakfast on the weekend – Amie and Joey were the best — so casual and yet so passionate about food. They were a gift to all of us us in Admiral district and will truly be missed.

  • Monica Mulligan April 10, 2011 (1:42 pm)

    This is a tragic loss to the West Seattle Community and to Joey’s family and many friends. Our sincere sympathies go out to everyone touched by this way-too-early and way-too-young passing. We were all very fortunate to have had Joey in our lives and to understand that there is a better and more healthy source of proteins than the inferior stuff sold in the grocery stores. We will miss him always.

  • The Donovan's April 10, 2011 (2:58 pm)

    Shout out to the Donovan’s. Much love and our prayers are with you.

  • The Donovans April 10, 2011 (3:21 pm)

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time. Joey will be very much missed.

  • Kyle April 10, 2011 (3:22 pm)

    Took a butchery/ccoking class at The Swinery last summer, Joey taught us how to break down a pig. Really nice guy, funny and loved what he did. Sad day.

  • Gabriel Claycamp April 10, 2011 (3:43 pm)

    Joey was a good kid and a good butcher. I am so sorry to hear this has happened. My heart goes out to Amie and Amiyah. Joey is in butcher’s Valhalla cutting up pigs right now. R.I.P.

  • BCB April 10, 2011 (4:15 pm)

    I worked with Joey in WS and he was hands down one of my favorite cooks and more so one of my favorite people I have crossed paths with in my life. I am so sad that he is gone. I will never forget his sense of humor, his tattoos, his personality or his laugh. I miss you buddy.

  • Fan April 10, 2011 (5:48 pm)

    Such sad news. Just came from the shop to make dinner in his honor tonight for our family. We’ve been fans since opening day. Hugs to his family and friends.

  • stephanie April 10, 2011 (7:24 pm)

    oh i just got word from a friend – our little store is just a few doors down from the swinery, and i can’t believe this news! oh i am so sad . . . amie my heart goes out to you sweetheart – what a terrible day – know we are thinking of you and our condolences go to everyone at the swinery and to his family and friends.

  • Megan Karch (FareStart) April 10, 2011 (7:36 pm)

    We are terribly saddened to hear of Joey’s passing. He was just at FareStart a few months ago for Guest Chef Night – and we were incredibly proud of his success. Watching him teaching our students, sharing his talents and serving as a role model, was a true testament to his love of life and passion of food.

    I live in West Seattle – and enjoyed sampling Joey’s success of food and business. The Swinery has been a gem of the neighborhood.

  • Silly Goose April 10, 2011 (9:18 pm)

    Just got home from being gone all weekend and I am wondering how this wonderful person died? We will miss him terrribly.

  • ikahana April 10, 2011 (9:25 pm)

    How horrible. I was in there for the first time a few weeks ago – he was the nicest guy. Left quite an impression on me. So sad. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

  • mickey April 10, 2011 (10:24 pm)

    Such a loss to all, family friends community. I’m afraid to ask… what happened? was he ill?

  • Heather B. April 10, 2011 (10:25 pm)

    Wow…I can’t believe your gone Joey. Ill never again get to read your daily Haipu’s or hear you call me slutlips. You were great to work with and a good friend too. Ill miss you. See you on the other side jerkmouth! RIP

  • unknown friend April 11, 2011 (12:02 am)

    A life that blessed those he touched—what more can we ask for when we leave this world to meet or maker? RIP

  • Andrea Rouleau April 11, 2011 (12:12 am)

    Such a shock to hear this terrible news. My heart goes out to his family and friends. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to meet you, Joey. The Swinery will always be one of my favs. RIP.

  • ashley estolas April 11, 2011 (8:26 am)

    i still can’t wrap my brain around the concept of a world without joey in it. he was insanely talented, fiercely loved, and incredibly deserving of every success he achieved.

    his absence, like his existence, is certain to leave an indelible mark on the lives of those lucky enough to consider him family and call him friend.


  • Anne McGowan April 11, 2011 (8:34 am)

    Amie’s song to Joey two weeks ago.
    You tube Amie’s song to Joey

  • Andrew April 11, 2011 (9:01 am)


    That’s the vid. Sad!!!

  • Sheri April 11, 2011 (9:49 am)

    I’ve loved you since we were kids and always will Joey !!!!

  • CLaire April 11, 2011 (12:15 pm)

    This is very sad news, Joey’s cooking, love of food and “bonne humeur” made me so happy. Making food that tasted the way it taste in my homeland, France.

  • Janett April 11, 2011 (12:19 pm)

    How, one day changes the rest. Joey such a tall
    big man, loving & kind, the best since of humor,
    very talented, enjoyed every moment spent with you.
    So unexpected,sad. Never forgotten,for the cherished
    memories of you will be with us all forever.!!!

  • GoGo April 11, 2011 (1:24 pm)

    I have been in shock since I read this early this morning. My husband and I were just at the Swinery Thursday evening and stood around talking with Joey for about 20 minutes and meat, butchering, etc. First time we had talked to him but we left feeling like we made a new friend.
    I am incredibly sad.

  • Juniebug April 11, 2011 (1:36 pm)

    I’m so sad to read about Joey’s death. I was only a customer and did not know him personally, but he was always friendly, helpful and genuine. Just a nice guy with great enthusiasm and energy. His biscuits and gravy were legend. The Swinery has been a business dedicated to quality and fun food (bacon cookies!) and I hope they will be able to recover and continue to be successful. My heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and customers.

  • Mia April 11, 2011 (4:13 pm)

    gonna miss you giving me sh-t about how horrible your mexican mocha is every mornin. Amie, I’m so sorry… No words.

  • Robert April 11, 2011 (5:54 pm)

    This was just posted on the Swinery’s blog…

  • onceachef April 11, 2011 (6:54 pm)

    Very sorry for the family’s loss…has a CoD been determined?

  • sassy April 12, 2011 (2:20 pm)

    I just wanted to say how sad I am to hear of such a young talent passing away, so unexpectedly. Amie – you both clearly loved each other immensely. That video was sweet.

  • Daisy April 14, 2011 (4:24 pm)

    My heart hurts with sadness for all who knew and loved Joey. Amie and Amiyah–love you so much and I’m so sorry you have to know the pain of losing someone who meant so much to both of you. He was clearly loved by this community, ridiculously sad.

  • Michelle April 14, 2011 (7:27 pm)

    Ah, Joey, you bastard. I’ll have my middle finger waiting, and you WILL look at it!! Just because you’re gone doesn’t mean I can’t get you. I love you, you slick sumbitch, and miss you every day. Wish I coulda been there to pull YOUR bacon off the fire…

  • christine cannon April 15, 2011 (12:42 pm)

    We will dearly miss you Joey.

  • Liza April 16, 2011 (2:09 pm)

    Please join us on Monday, April 18th, 2011 at Lincoln Park shelter 3 from 4-7 for the Memorial of Chef Joseph Brewer.

    Friends, fans, customers, family and community members are encouraged to come and celebrate the life of this incredible man.

    Chefs Chris Merguez (Swinery), Jeremy Homan, Trina Recktenwald-Homan, Anthony Hubbard, and Will Parr will be cooking delicious treats for us in Joey’s honor.

    Lincoln Park 8011 Fauntleroy Way SW

    There is ample parking up top and the shelter we are at will be down on the beach near the pool.

    Joseph Scott Brewer

    Joseph Scott Brewer (Joey), of Seattle, passed away on Friday, April 8, 2011 at home. He was 35.

    Joey was born on September 17th, 1975 in Seattle, Washington and was the son of Tony Curtis Brewer and Mary Bridgette Scramlin. He was raised in New York and Washington and lived in Arizona as well. He attended Somers High School in Lincolndale, New York and following high school Joseph furthered his education at Farestart Culinary School in Seattle, successfully graduating in 2008.

    Joey had a strong passion for butchery, and enjoyed cooking, laughing, music, friends, collectibles, tattoos, his dogs and a continued desire to succeed.

    He is remembered by his family and friends as an outstanding chef and accomplished butcher who took great pride in work and cherished his community, family and friends. Throughout his life Mr. Brewer always had a hand out to help those who were in need of his help and advice. He was a good listener and never sugar coated how he felt. Joseph was respected and loved by all who met him.

    Survivors include his two children, Mikael and Mikaela age 10; his mother, Mary B. Scramlin and father, Tony Curtis Brewer; brothers, Stephen Nichter and Aaron Nichter and his dogs Chloe, Darlah and Bella.

    Chris Nishiwaki, Seattle Food Writer wrote: “Joey Brewer opened up about his tumultuous life with excruciating candidness when I interviewed him this winter. He was charming and energetic as we was remorseful. He never made excuses or looked back. He look ahead to the future with optimism.”

Sorry, comment time is over.