Washington brewery production report for 2020



Beer Production Totals Drop 16 Percent

Earlier this week I shared news from the Brewers Association that craft beer production in the U.S. realized a 9 percent decline in 2020. Today I am reporting that here in Washington production dropped by 16 percent.

This report is not related to the report from the Brewers Association. It is based on data provided by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. Specifically, the data comes from the WSLCB’s brewery production report for the year 2020, as compared to the same report for 2019. It includes all breweries in Washington, even the ones that do not meet the Brewers Association’s definition of craft brewer and the ones that primarily produce seltzer, as noted below.

In 2019 Washington brewers produced 691,453 barrels of beer. In 2020, Washington brewers produced 583,097 barrels of beer. That equates to a 16 percent production drop.


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Land of the small, and the many

  • Looking at the data for all the breweries, it is clear that the smaller breweries took the biggest hit. The average production drop was a higher percentage for the smaller breweries. Almost uniformly, almost inversely, the smaller the brewery, the higher the percentage.
  • At the same time, one of Washington’s largest producers realized nearly a 24 percent drop. Elysian Brewing, the state’s second-largest producer, saw production drop from 78,770 barrels in 2019 to 60,087 in 2020.
  • Of Washington’s 400-plus breweries, only about 120 produced more than 500 barrels of beer in 2019. In 2020, only about 100 breweries produced more than 500 barrels. When it comes to breweries, Washington is a land of many small breweries and the data shows that small breweries were hit particularly hard in 2020.
  • The top 20 producers in Washington, together, produce about 75 percent of all the beer in the state. For the top 20, the numbers are not quite so bleak. In 2019, the top 20 producers reported 472,364 barrels produced. In 2020, they reported 434,136. That equates to an 8 percent drop in production. Still a significant decline, but just half of the state’s overall number.

Behold the Power of the Tap

The report from the BA showed that draft beer sales were down by 40 percent nationwide. Though I have not data, it seems very likely that Washington’s draft beer sales were down much more than 40 percent. Compared to many other states, Washington’s approach to combating the virus was more vigilant. Anecdotally, more than one Washington brewery told me that off-premise draft beer sales dried up entirely during the lockdowns.

Consider this, three of the most popular beers produced in Washington are recognized as primarily draft-only products: Georgetown Brewing’s Manny’s Pale Ale, Mac & Jack’s African Amber, and Iron Horse Brewing’s Irish Death. As I said, not exclusively draft-only, but largely draft-only. Beyond those three beers, some of the most beloved beers in Washington are either mostly or entirely “draft only” beers.

Yes, I’m speculating, but I think my point is valid: if a brewery relied on draft beer sales for a large portion of its business, as many Washington breweries do, things were very rough in 2020.


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Where’s the List?

Below, I provide the list of the top 50 producers in Washington but I do it with some caveats.

  • Elysian Brewing is on the list. It no longer meets the Brewers Association definition of “craft” but Elysian does still produce beer in Washington and is the state’s second-largest producer. My list is not bound by the BA’s definition of a craft brewer.
  • Schooner Exact Brewing, a recognizable name to many beer drinkers, is on the list by virtue of the fact that it produces the San Juan Seltzer line of spiked seltzers. According to the state, hard seltzer is beer in terms of how it is produced and taxed. I don’t make the rules and I know this classification upsets some of you.
  • There are plenty of other breweries on this list that can attribute at least some of their barrel numbers to the production of seltzer. Several breweries have begun to include seltzer in their lineups.
  • Some breweries produce beer at more than one location. I have taken that into account and combined production numbers before ranking the top 20.
  • If a brewery is on the list by virtue of a contract-brewing arrangement, I don’t know about it. That is not something disclosed in the reports provided by the state.

Washington’s Top 20 Producers for 2020, with approx. barrel amount

  1. Georgetown Brewing, 97K
  2. Elysian Brewing, 60K
  3. Fremont Brewing, 53K
  4. Bale Breaker Brewing, 26K
  5. Silver City Brewery, 24K
  6. Reuben’s Brews, 24K
  7. Mack & Jack’s Brewery, 22K
  8. Schooner Exact Brewing*, 22K
  9. Iron Horse Brewery, 20K
  10. No-Li Brewhouse, 17K
  11. 20 Corners Brewing, 11K
  12. Black Raven Brewing, 10K
  13. Kulshan Brewing, 9.5K
  14. Icicle Brewing, 6.5K
  15. Everybody’s Brewing, 6.5K
  16. Aslan Brewing, 6.5K
  17. Scuttlebutt Brewing, 5K
  18. Pike Brewing, 4.5K
  19. 7 Seas Brewing, 4.5K
  20. Ghostfish Brewing, 3.6K
  21. Stoup Brewing, 3.6K

I share the rest of the Top 50 below, presented in order of production volume without their production numbers. The order may not be exact but it is close, which explains why I did not number them.

  • BOUNDARY BAY BREWERY AND BISTRO
  • JESTER & JUDGE**
  • HALES ALES LTD
  • ODIN BREWING COMPANY
  • DRU BRU
  • 54-40 BREWING COMPANY
  • HELLBENT BREWING
  • DIAMOND KNOT BREWING COM.
  • MATCHLESS
  • SINGLE HILL BREWING COMPANY
  • TWO BEERS BREWING COMPANY
  • NARROWS BREWING COMPANY
  • E9 BREWING CO
  • WANDER BREWING
  • CLOUDBURST BREWING
  • URBAN FAMILY BREWING COMPANY
  • SKOOKUM BREWERY
  • TEN PIN BREWING
  • FARMSTRONG BREWING COMPANY
  • RAM BREWERY
  • LOOWIT BREWING COMPANY
  • BARREL MOUNTAIN BREWING
  • SAN JUAN BREWING COMPANY
  • BRICK WEST BREWING
  • SEAPINE BREWING COMPANY
  • OLD SCHOOLHOUSE BREWERY
  • DICKS BREWING COMPANY
  • FISH BREWING COMPANY
  • ICE HARBOR BREWING COMPANY

*For the past couple years, Schooner Exact Brewing primarily produces the San Juan line of seltzers.

**Jester and Judge is a cider company in Stevenson, WA. I assume their ranking here is based on the production of seltzer or kombucha, both of which the state categorizes as beer.



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