Big praise for Spokane craft beer | Business
Over the last year Spokane has seen a boom in the success and popularity of locally made craft beers. People are starting to take notice, and on Friday night, for the first time, the Washington Beer Commission and the Washington Brewers Guild held their meetings in Spokane.
“They see there’s this completely new hot spot in Spokane,” explained John Bryant of No-Li Brewhouse. It’s a hot spot that even the grandfather of craft brewing is noticing.
Charlie Papazian is the President of the Brewers Association, and back in the 80s he wrote the first American book on home brewing. The Complete Joy of Homebrewing is widely considered to be the Bible of homebrewing for people creating their own craft brews.
“He invented for the most part what craft beer is in America,” said Bryant. “He chose to come to Spokane for a reason.”
Papazian said that the shift that’s happening in Spokane is similar to what he is seeing in secondary cities across the country.
“It’s an awakening of craft beer,” explained Papazian. “It’s more than just the beer and the brewery; it’s a feeling of community.”
A feeling of community that spills into the general public Papazian added. Industry and tourism are already set to follow that community right into Spokane’s economy.
“It’s pretty powerful,” explained Bryant. Spokane has gone from only two or three breweries to having 15. That means jobs, and because of Spokane’s geography it means a lot of the ingredients are being purchased locally. In about a week the Inland Northwest Craft Brewers will launch the Ale Trail map which the brewers hope will drive tourists into the city.
“It was one of the first things the group decided to go after,” said Heather Brandt of Iron Goat Brewing. The Ale Trail will provide locals and tourists a like with a guide to all of the area’s local breweries, much like you would find in wine country, and will be available in hotels across Eastern Washington and Montana.
“This last year has been really exciting,” said Brandt. “We’re building an audience.”
While Spokane may be new on the craft beer scene, Bryant said that brewers have been able to see what’s worked in places like Seattle and learn from it.
“Spokane is going to catch up and rapidly pass it,” he said.
While craft beer only accounts for about six percent of the beer industry in America, Papazian said they craft beer revolution is resonating across the country.
“I think Spokane is well on its way,” said Papazian.