Washington's First Tribe-Owned Brewery
December 2, 2015 - 1:52 PM- by Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog -
By my reckoning, there are now 306 breweries in Washington. Here’s the story of number 306.
I was driving home from Bellingham the other day when I heard a commercial on the radio about a new brewery in Arlington. What? No brewery is supposed to open in Washington without me knowing about it! I keep a close eye on these things, after all. So how did this happen?
The commercial continued. “Located at Angel of the Winds Casino in Arlington, Angel’s Tap House Brewery is Washington’s first tribe-owned brewery,” to paraphrase.
That explained it. They were not, and still are not, on the Washington State Liquor Control Board’s official list of licensed breweries. Nor should they be. I assume that, because it’s a tribal brewery, it is not licensed by the state. I assume that it doesn’t need to be. I am still researching the situation but in the meantime I have added it to the list of breweries on the Washington Beer Blog.
This morning I did some research and as far as I can tell the story is true. Angel of the Winds Casino has its own brewery. Angel's Tap House Brewery will be brewing its own beer and baking artisan pizzas at its location inside the casino and hotel in Arlington. The brewery is owned and operated by the Stillaguamish Tribe.
I have no idea how the legalities work. As a tribe-owned brewery, can it distribute and sell the beer? I’m guessing not. Is the beer available only at the casino and, presumably, only on tribal land? I’m guessing so. You see, the list I mentioned earlier—the state’s official list of breweries—is basically a list of tax ID numbers. A tribe-owned brewery would not have a tax ID number because they wouldn’t need to pay taxes. Right?
Maybe they'll end up on that list someday, but not yet.
I found two stories about Angel’s Tap House Brewery in the local press, one in the Everett Herald and the other in the Arlington Times. They both seemed to be written from the same press release, which I did not get.
The brewmaster at Angel’s Tap House Brewery is Frank Ellis, who previously led the Ellis Island Brewery in Las Vegas. He’ll be brewing on a three-barrel system (100 gallons at a time). They plan to offer a basic array of beers: Angel's Golden Pilsner, Angel's Tap House Pale Ale, El Diablo Red, Watershed Blonde, Bigfoot Nut Brown Ale, C Hawk Bock, Fallen Angel IPA, and Still Water Stout.
According to the press release, Ellis, started brewing at age 14. He holds degrees in brewing technology from the Siebel Institute in Chicago and The Doemen's Academy in Germany.
I’ll keep digging into this one and see what I can learn. In the meantime, Angel’s Tap House Brewery, Washington’s 306th brewery overall, is Washington’s first tribe-owned brewery.