Tumwater is home of Olympia Beer, a legacy born over a century ago. A handful of partners have been collaborating around the idea of building on that brewing legacy by turning Tumwater and the surrounding area into a thriving hub that grows Washington’s craft beer, cider, and spirits movement. This geographic hub is a place where educators, business incubators, industry support (barrel-makers and canners, to name a couple), brewers, distillers and cider-makers convene to refine and grow their crafts. South Puget Sound Community College has already started teaching some classes around brewing and distilling. Redeveloping the old Olympia Brewery is also a piece of this collaboration.
Washington is uniquely positioned to take a national leadership role in growing the craft brewing, cider and distilling movement because of the state’s prominence in wheat, barley, hops, and apple production. The hub will support those agricultural communities, add value to the crops, and grow recognition for Washington, in much the same way that Walla Walla has made a profound impact on the wine industry. Partners involved in this effort have have been meeting people in the industry, telling our story, and finding ways to collaborate and achieve mutual goals. Industry Guilds, Associations, Commissions, State Agencies and their directors, State Legislators, Congressmen and women, and many of the State’s brewers, distillers, and cider-makers are enthusiastic about this vision.