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Washington Brewers Guild Hires a New Executive Director

The Washington Brewers Guild just announced the hire of a new Executive Director: Annie McGrath. Her background includes work with the Washington State Legislature and also the Washington Wine Institute.

McGrath’s duties include overseeing the annual Washington Cask Beer Festival and the upcoming Washington Winter Beer Festival, which takes place on December 4th and 5th in Seattle. Those events are a major component of the Guild’s fundraising efforts (the WBG is a non-profit organization).

The Washington Brewers Guild is dedicated to protecting and promoting the interests of Washington craft brewers. A lot of the work they do involves lobbying for fare and favorable laws and regulation. The Guild should not be confused with the Washington Beer Commission, which is tasked with promoting Washington beer as a product. The Guild and the Commission are separate organization with different missions: one is about politics and the other about marketing.

McGrath will manage the WBG’s legislative and regulatory work and provide outreach and support for Washington’s craft brewers. Washington now ranks second in the U.S. behind California with over 250 breweries. More than ever, it is important for the industry to have a strong presence in Olympia.

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McGrath joins the WBG with over a decade of experience working in various capacities with the Washington State Legislature, including as a staffer in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and most recently as a lobbyist.  In addition to her political experience, McGrath previously served as the membership services coordinator for the Washington Wine Institute, the State’s leading advocacy organization for wineries.

Heather McClung, WBG President and owner of Schooner EXACT Brewing Company said, “Washington craft breweries currently lead the country in new brewery openings.  Adding Annie to our team at this exciting time will help brewers navigate the challenges that come with a rapidly growing industry.”  She added, “Annie has the right mix of legislative and regulatory advocacy experience, association development and passion for our industry to build on WBG’s past successes in Olympia and provide critical outreach to breweries, young and old, across Washington.”

“The Washington Brewers Guild is working to shape the future of craft beer in Washington,” said McGrath.  “I’m excited to work with the highest caliber of brewers in the country to continue to grow the Washington craft beer industry, an industry that is not only delivering high quality and choice to beer lovers, but is also truly a bright spot on our State’s economy.”

McGrath holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Evergreen State College.  Born and raised in Washington State, she now resides in Normandy Park with her husband, Liam, and sons, Seamus and Dylan.