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About the Center for Excellence

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Partners Explore Craft Brewing and Distilling Center for Brewery Site

Thurston Craft Brewing and Distilling Innovation Partnership Zone (IPZ) 

Brewery Update to Tumwater City Council Worksession,
June 15, 2014
 (8 MB)

A partnership was established in May 2014 with the property owners, Thurston County Economic Development Council, Olympia Tumwater Foundation, Port of Olympia, Washington State University Extension, South Puget Sound Community College, the Washington State University School of Food Science and the City of Tumwater to create a Craft Brewing, Distilling, and Cider Hub. This hub will include an education center, business incubators, and supports to grow these emerging craft beverage industries along the supply chain and across sectors. 

About the Concept

The Craft Brewing and Distilling Center concept framed within the Letter of Mutual Partnership pdf-icon-sm (May 2014) facilitates numerous uses and partners to expand two rapidly growing industries (brewing and distilling), drawing investment, fostering innovation, creating jobs and attracting tourism. The center would have a regional focus to facilitate craft brewing and distilling activities, extend industry research, education, workforce training, and public information.  Such a facility could serve as an incubator for small brewers and distillers and provide public amenities such as a museum, river walk, trail connections and preservation of the iconic and historic brewhouse, to name a few.
The City of Tumwater has been defined by the presence of the Olympia Brewery site for over a century.  The site is located in the heart of Tumwater, adjacent to the Deschutes River, with signature visibility from the I-5 corridor. The brewery closed in 2003. Redevelopment of this site would contribute to regional employment, revitalization of the local and regional economy, and reinvigorate a site that has lasting historical, cultural, and community value.
The Brewing and Distilling Center partnership evolved from efforts between the City of Tumwater and the private property owner (north of Custer Way) to facilitate redevelopment. The State Department of Ecology provided an Integrated Planning Grant in the amount of $200,000, plus additional funds from the property owner, to perform an environmental assessment and a market feasibility study. The Market Feasibility Study was released in 2014, and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is scheduled to be released in 2015.
A planning grant from the Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) provided for a study of public/private partnership opportunities which will further refine viability of the Craft Brewing and Distilling Center concept for this site. The partners committed to work together in a manner consistent with their respective roles, missions, and available resources of the public and private partners to develop a proposal for a viable Craft Brewing and Distilling Center. Find the reports at the top of the page.

Media Coverage

Issaquah Sports Medicine, Thurston Craft Brewing and Distilling are state’s newest Innovation Partnership Zones - Washington State Department of Commerce news release, October 2, 2015

"Tumwater brewery redevelopment could generate more than 600 jobs" - by Andy Hobbs, The Olympian, June 18, 2015

Joint Press Release pdf-icon-sm

"Partners explore beer project at Tumwater's historic brewhouse" - by Andy Hobbs, The Olympian, May 15, 2014

"Tumwater's 'Olympia Brewery' Could Open Again" - by Abbey Gibb, King 5 News, May 23, 2014

Video: Brewers, distillers thirsty for local barley flavors - By Sylvia Kantor, WSU, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences, May 28, 2014

A Taste of Place: Public-Private Partnership Seeks to Transform Tumwater Brewery Into Craft Brewing and Distilling Center of Excellence - by Natasha Ashenhurst, ThurstonTalk, June 3, 2014

Industry & Agriculture

Beer and Spirits (video) - Washington Grown (a nonprofit), Season 1 - Episode 5 - Focus on Hops


Contact Heidi Behrends Cerniwey, Assistant City Administrator/Brewery Project Manager, for more information at (360) 754-4128 or

See Brewery Properties, Recent Actions and Long Range Planning for more information.