An abundance of hops, an explosion of craft breweries and increasing consumer demand are powering growth in Washington state’s surging craft beer industry.
Craft beer had an overall economic impact of $1.4 billion in 2017, accounting for some 6,300 direct jobs. Most of the state’s 391 breweries — 80% — are independently owned and produce fewer than 4,000 kegs per year, according to a report sponsored by the Washington Beer Commission.
The study notes that 75% of all hops in the U.S. are grown in the Washington. Fifty-five percent of beer production takes place in King County.
Elysian Brewing Co., which was purchased by Anheuser-Busch four years ago, is the state’s largest in terms of net production. The big local brewers are Georgetown Brewing Co. and Fremont Brewing Co., both based in Seattle; and Redmond-based Mac & Jack’s Brewing Co.
Beer lovers can quaff some of the state's best beers at the 18th annual Seattle International Beerfest, which runs from July 12-14 in Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center.