We believe that prosperity has a ripple effect. Washington is poised to use the craft brew, cider, and spirits to create a ripple effect that grows jobs, return on investments, and thriving communities.
So what’s the ripple effect? It’s one person growing a business that ripples through the entire economy. Let’s start at the beginning. You go to school. You learn the skills needed for your craft. You learn how to run a business. You engage with an academic community dedicated to improving your craft. You start a business, hopefully with the help of a business incubator. You need business startup grants and micro-loans. You need associations that connect you with the beginning of the supply chain – the farmers, equipment. You need to get connected with the tail end of the supply chain, too. The bottlers, and label designers, and shippers. You need to connect with restaurants and connoisseurs of your craft. You’re doing well and need to scale up. That means more equipment, employees, and tail end supply chain services. This is the ripple effect. It impacts jobs and businesses and industries across the state. It allows communities to thrive.
About the Opportunity. The craft beverage business is live and well and that is good news for not only for potential brewers, cider makers, and distillers, but for anyone involved anywhere along the supply chain. Cider apples are in short supply. Specialty hops and grains are needed and a shortage of barrels and skilled workers are evident. The Washington Brewers Guild reports 315 craft breweries operating in the state (second only to California.) Craft brewing generated over $1.6 billion in direct economic impact for Washington State in 2014, and employed 14,782 full-time employees with an average wage of over $44,000. Currently Washington leads the way nationwide in terms of number of cideries (69, United States Association of Cideries) and number of craft distilleries (113, Washington Distillers Guild, 2015). All three craft beverages have been experiencing rapid growth: a 63% increase in production in Washington craft breweries between 2011 and 2014 (Washington Brewers Guild, 2016); a 15% predicted growth rate for cider over the next five years (Jon London of Angry Orchard Cider, 2016); and a 30% increase in craft whiskey sales during the last decade, (CBS news, May 2013 broadcast). Qualitative descriptions of growth in this sector are filled with descriptions like “exploding,” “booming,” and “on a tear.”