CRAFT is revitalizing our community

The craft movement is helping to bring brewing back to Tumwater—the home of Olympia Beer for more than a century.

Redevelopment of the former Olympia Beer brewery in Tumwater is a City priority. Supported by a broad cross-section of the community and facilitated by many partners, the City of Tumwater has led efforts to move toward the vision of a revitalized brewery and district. The strategy has been to break the project into smaller elements (bite-sized pieces), remove barriers, and catalyze investment and reuse of the industrial complex that sits in the heart of our community. The entire site encompasses over 1 million square feet with historic, cultural, and industrial significance. Here’s an update on a few of the many moving parts to the brewery redevelopment project.

Our strategy

The Brewery Action Plan is a strategy developed in 2011, based on extensive community visioning, which has been updated regularly to reflect accomplishments and changes in conditions relating to infrastructure, ownership, priorities, and funding opportunities. Find it on the City website at www.ci.tumwater.wa.us/brewery.

Preserving our heritage

trail-and-brewhouseOne of the most iconic structures in Washington State, the Old Brewhouse is a landmark that stands as a reminder of our brewing and industrial roots. The structure itself was donated to the City earlier in the year. A group of volunteers is working on plans to install emergency protections—roofing and window coverings—to weatherize it and reduce the rate of decay. The City has applied for grants in order to fund a portion of the first phase of rehabilitation. Additional monies will need to come through other grants, foundations, and private sources. The total cost to restore the Old Brewhouse is estimated to be $6.5 million.

Creating public access and trails

Trails bring recreation opportunities and add options for getting around the community. The City is actively seeking funding to build the Deschutes Valley Trail to connect Pioneer Park to Historical Park and eventually the brewery site. A section of the trail through Historical Park was completed this year. An additional section will be constructed next year. An easement across the historic brewery site was acquired this year as well, providing one more connection for our future regional trail system.

Paying homage

Brewing was the lifeblood of Tumwater for decades. The craft beverage movement is the future. The Craft Brewing & Distilling Center will support the growing craft beer, cider, and spirits movement. The  “hub” will provide education and training for aspiring entrepreneurs and their staff, business incubators to help more business launch, and complimentary business that connect elements and expand the supply chain. Follow the stories and activities of partners on our website at www.craftbeerciderspirits.com. See how we’re helping to bring brewing back to Tumwater.

Teaching “craft” — South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) has developed programs to teach brewing, distilling, and cider-making, as well as skills to grow strong businesses. These emerging craft beverage industries are in need of specialize training, and what better place than Tumwater, known for almost a century of brewing. SPSCC will work with private developers to build a teaching facility in Tumwater. The location will be announced in the coming months. For now, you can register for a wide variety of recreational and introductory classes. Check out their website www.spscc.edu/brewing to register.

Business incubators — Thanks to a grant from the Washington State Community Economic and Revitalization Board (CERB), a consultant team is helping evaluate a business incubator project to facilitate start-ups and scale-ups, specifically for makers of craft beer, cider, and spirits.

Stay tuned as this story continues to unfold…

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