It’s not all doom and gloom, as some might suggest
Updated Feb. 23. Updates at bottom.
I am not unsympathetic or disconnected. I know how much the pandemic has impacted just about every beer-related business on earth, including my own. While the pain is real, I don’t see the value in harping on the negative. For example, some people seem compelled to wring their hands and talk about “all the breweries that have gone out of business because of COVID.”
What? Did I miss something?
I’ve seen plenty of breweries struggle, adapt, and fight their way through the pandemic, but I haven’t seen anything close to mass devastation across the industry. Far from it, actually, so why focus on the negative? Stop being such a Debbie Downer, it doesn’t help anything.
Most importantly, we should all be doing whatever we can to help them survive. That is a better use of your energy.
Again, I know the suffering is real, but of Washington’s approximately 430-ish breweries, you can count the ones that have gone out of business in the past 12 months on one hand. The truth is, some of those breweries were probably on their way out before the pandemic hit.
Not Just the Doom and Gloom
I do not mean to suggest that we should not worry or empathize. Lord knows what the coming months will bring for the Washington beer scene. I do fail to see any value in harping on the negative. There is still plenty of good news coming from the approximately 425 breweries in Washington that have NOT closed.
Allow me to present some happy stories that seem to fly in the face of the pandemic. With all the negative energy surrounding us, let’s take a moment to focus on the positive.
Last spring, Georgetown Brewing announced that it would start canning its flagship Manny’s Pale Ale for the first time. The plan was to raise money for local hospitality industry workers impacted by the pandemic. The limit-release cans raised over $400,000 for the cause. Very impressive. Very happy news. Read about it.
In August, Logan Brewing opened in downtown Burien. The pandemic delayed the plan but did not thwart it. Read about it here.
In June, No-Li Brewhouse announced that it was on the hunt for a new location in downtown Spokane, one that could house a 50,000 square foot experiential beer destination. Read more about that here.
Last spring, Yakima’s Wandering Hop Brewery announced its plan to open a second location. They’ll open a new brewery and taproom in nearby Zillah, WA. Read about it here.
Recently, Salish Sea Brewing announced an exciting expansion plan. The Edmonds brewery is opening a second location, a new brewery and taproom near the Edmonds waterfront. They are taking over the old American Brewing facility near the marina, which closed down a couple months ago. This will not only provide a second location but will drastically increase the company’s brewing capacity. Read about it here.
Killin’ it at GABF and bringing home the Alpha King. In October, we learned that Washington breweries once again kicked ass at the Great American Beer Festival. The haul included 16 medals as well as some other prestigious awards. Read about it here.
In December we announced that Skagit River Brewing was closing down. Now we’ve learned that a local buyer is not going to let that happen. We’ll have details about that story as it develops.
In December, Seattle’s Standard Brewing expanded its operation by opening a second brewery. It’s called Sovereign Brewing and it is not far from the Standard Brewing location. Read about that here.
Camp Colvos Brewing of Vashon Island is busily moving forward with plans to open a second taproom, located in Tacoma’s Brewery Blocks business district near 7 Seas Brewing, Sig Brewing, and E9 Brewing. Read about that here. The plan was announced before the pandemic, but they’re moving forward in spite of it and hoping to open in March.
Just the other day, Silver City Brewery shared the news that it is expanding production by adding a pair of 240-barrel tanks. Those are big tanks. Even for the largest Washington breweries, those are big tanks.
Great Notion Brewing opened two taprooms in Seattle during the pandemic. One in Ballard and the other in Georgetown.
No doubt there are other examples of breweries charging ahead in the face of massive adversity. There are other examples of good news on the Washington beer scene. There are other happy stories to tell. Doesn’t it feel good to focus on that, even if only for a moment?
More good news.
Bale Breaker and Yonder Cider teaming up to open a new taproom in Ballard. Read it.
Stoup Brewing is opening a second location: Stoup Brewing Kenmore. Read it.
Yoked Farmhouse and Brewery is now open in Port Orchard. We’ll have more about that soon.