Brewing an industry through innovation and partnership

How does a community create a dynamic and vibrant economic sector that enables local businesses to thrive, provide jobs and opportunities, and puts itself on the map as center of excellence, attracting visitors and customers from around the region and world? Create a unique business ecosystem to foster growth and innovation in a focused industry.

The Thurston Craft Brewing and Distilling Innovation Partnership Zone (Craft Brewing IPZ) was created in 2015 to help this community do just that. A designation through the Washington State Department of Commerce, the IPZ helps the region create an environment to grow the craft brewing and distilling industry. A number of partners – Thurston Economic Development Council, Washington State University, South Puget Sound Community College, City of Tumwater, Port of Olympia, as well as several local existing brewers and distillers and other community partners – have joined forces to foster a world-class industry right in our own backyard.

The partners have created a ten-year vision for IPZ activities, which include:

  • Establishing a craft brewing and distilling center
  • Creating training certifications and/or curricula in craft brewing and distilling at SPSCC
  • Establishing a cluster of successful producers and marketers of craft beers, ciders and distilled spirits
  • Fostering a network of local producers and farmers who grow the raw ingredients used in the products

The goal of the partners that participate in the IPZ is that these activities will help to create a nationally and internationally recognized regional brand for craft beers, ciders and spirits that rivals “Florida Oranges” or “Swiss Cheese.”

People looking to start in this industry, and businesses wanting to grow, will find a plethora of support activities – non-credit classes and curriculum through SPSCC, a partnership-based communications strategy and platform to share the stories of our success, technical training for businesses to improve their operations, an identified supply-chain for local grain producers, as well as many other things. To learn more about the Craft Brewing IPZ, please contact the Thurston Economic Development Council at 360-754-6320.

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