Washington's Top 22 Breweries
June 10, 2014 - 11:15 AM- by Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog -
The Washington Brewers Festival is just 10 days away. The festival represents the single largest gathering of Washington breweries and beers. This year, the festival offers more than 330 beers from 88 different breweries. This sets me to thinking about the nature of Washington beer and the 200-plus businesses that brew it. Below I list Washington’s top 22 breweries. These are the top 22 breweries in terms of production volume.
About Washington Beer
As of this moment, the Washington State Liquor Control Board reports that 259 breweries call Washington home. Subtract about 25 from that total and you arrive at a more realistic number. I will not bore you with the details of my reckoning and I do not assert that my calculations are absolute. It’s a nebulous number, a moving target.
Click image to see the list.
Let's call it 235-ish, but note that when anyone else talks about the number of breweries in Washington they refer to the official number provided by the Washington Liquor Control Board (259). California stands alone as the only state with more breweries.
The Brewers Association (the organization representing America’s craft brewing industry) recently released its list of the 50 largest craft breweries in America (production volume). None of Washington’s 235-ish breweries made the list.
Does it seem odd that Washington supports more breweries than any state but California, but none of our breweries rank among the nation’s top 50?
For comparison, first take a look at some recognizable out of state breweries:
Brewery (rank) Approx. Barrels Produced (2013)
Boston Beer Co (1) 2.5 million
New Belgium Brewing (2) 792,000
Lagunitas Brewing (5) 500,000
Brooklyn Brewing (9) 220,000
Stone Brewing (10) 213,000
Dogfish Head Brewing (13) 202,000
Firestone Walker Brewing (16) 140,000
Founders Brewing (26) 130,000
What About Washington?
Below I list the 22 breweries in Washington that produced in excess of 3,000 barrels in 2013. Obviously, I do not intend for this to be a list of the "best" breweries. This is all about production volume.
Yep. Out of our 235-ish breweries, just 22 produced more than 3,000 barrels last year. What does this mean? Obviously, Washingtonians fancy small breweries. And what does that say about us? I have no idea or opinion. I’d love to hear yours.
One thing is for sure, if you want to drink Washington beer, you need to visit Washington to do it. Very few of our breweries produce enough beer to ship it out of state. No wonder Washington beer fails to capture the attention and admiration of the national audience. The rest of the country simple does not know about our beer.
Washington’s Top 22 (in terms of production volume)
Brewery Barrels Produced (2013)*
- Redhook Ale Brewery** 149,000
- Georgetown Brewing 52,300
- Mac & Jacks Brewing 43,600
- Elysian Brewing 43,300
- Fish Brewing 14,900
- Pike Brewing 12,600
- Fremont Brewing 12,400
- Hale’s Ales 11,400
- Iron Horse Brewing 10,200
- Silver City Brewing 7,600
- Maritime Pacific 7,200
- Scuttlebutt Brewing 6,500
- Diamond Knot 6,100
- No-Li Brewhouse 6,000
- Ram Brewery 5,900
- Boundary Bay Brewing 5,900
- Two Beers Brewing 5,200
- Icicle Brewing 3,700
- Hilliard’s Beer 3,500
- 7 Seas Brewing 3,200
- American Brewing 3,100
- Harmon Brewing 3,000
Note that some of the breweries listed above (Elysian, Diamond Knot, Ram) produce beer at multiple locations. The number reflects the total from all locations.
* I rounded off the number of barrels to the nearest hundred. This information appears courtesy of the Puget Sound Business Journal, which compiled the numbers using data from the Washington State Liquor Control Board and brewery websites. The PSBJ published this information in the May 30, 2014 issue. While they did their best to provide realistic numbers, PSBJ does not guarantee absolute accuracy.
** Although Redhook Brewery produced enough beer to make it into the top 50, the Brewers Association does not consider it a craft brewery. By the BA’s definition, Redhook is not independent and therefore is not a craft brewery.