Not long ago I did a post about the new brewery excise tax rate and its impact on breweries of different sizes. Read that story here to gain some context and to understand the impact that the new tax rate will have on Washington breweries. When writing that story, I used the official barrel-production list for Washington, which shows exactly how much beer each brewery in the state produced in 2016. Yes, I know that seems like a long time ago, but the State of Washington will not release the list for 2017 until March of 2018, so it was the only list with which I could work.
There are some surprises on the list, which is why I decided to publish it. If I asked 100 local beer drinkers to tell me which breweries they thought were the largest, this list would probably look different, but facts are facts.
Below I list the top 20 beer producers of 2016. Please remember that this list is based on barrel production only. It is not my list of the 20 best breweries in Washington, though I’m sure many of you are not reading this sentence and have already skipped to the list and are getting ready to lambaste me for not including your favorite brewery. It’s the interwebs, after all.
I’ll try to remember to share the 2017 list when it becomes available instead of waiting until the end of the year.
Some interesting factoids:
- Redhook Ale Brewery’s production has now halted in Woodinville, so they will move down the list next year. Redhook ceased brewing about halfway through the year, so they will still be on the 2017 list, just not up at the top. I’m guessing Redhook will only move down three or four positions, which is something to think about. If one of the two largest producers in the state can cut production in half and still be in the top five, what does that tell us?
- Washington’s top five breweries produced nearly half of the beer. Total production in Washington was 629,000 barrels and the top five produced 300,000 barrels. It’s an interesting fact for a state with nearly 400 breweries. We have a lot more small breweries than large.
- To be honest, even our large breweries aren’t really all that large. Four of the 50 largest craft breweries in the United States are in Oregon (Deschutes, Full Sail, Rogue, Ninkasi), and that doesn’t even include Craft Brew Alliance (Redhook, Widmere, etc), which technically is not a craft brewery. None of the U.S. top 50 are in Washington.
- The top two producers in Washington do not qualify as craft breweries according to the Brewers Association definition.
Washington’s Top 20 Beer Producers
Brewery – Quantity of Beer Brewed in 2016 (in barrels)
- ELYSIAN BREWING – 89,176.13
- REDHOOK ALE BREWERY – 81,951.75
- GEORGETOWN BREWING – 54,623.78
- MAC & JACKS BREWERY – 43,068.00
- FREMONT BREWING – 31,266.69
- IRON HORSE BREWERY – 22,611.35
- BALE BREAKER BREWING -19,322.00
- SILVER CITY BREWERY – 14,675.99
- PIKE BREWING – 11,513.88
- FISH BREWING – 11,298.51
- NO-LI BREWHOUSE – 9,012.72
- BLACK RAVEN BREWING – 8,792.78
- HALES ALES – 7,935.28
- SCUTTLEBUTT BREWING – 7,484.54
- TWO BEERS BREWING – 7,213.50
- KULSHAN BREWING – 7,069.37
- BOUNDARY BAY BREWERY – 5,929.00
- YAKIMA CRAFT BREWING – 5,673.00
- ASLAN BREWING COMPANY – 5,531.97
- 7 SEAS BREWING – 5,417.28