My journey to becoming a die-hard beer lover was solidified three years ago when I moved to Seattle, WA. I’ve always enjoyed beer, having spent the first 31 years of my life in southern California followed by a short layover in the Bay Area. California is hardly a stranger to the craft beer scene and is solely to blame for my initial introduction. Washington State, however turned that hobby into a passion, resulting in my recent campaign to – “Make Beer The Official State Drink of Washington”
Beer is absolutely everywhere in the Pacific Northwest. Much like the ever-popular, local Starbucks coffee, it seems you can’t turn a corner without running into a brewery or brewpub (especially in neighborhoods like Ballard). For a state ranked 20th in size by land area, Washington State comes in at 2nd in total number of breweries. On top of that, Washington is also the leading producer of hops, one of the four ingredients in beer.
My enthusiasm for the brewing community happened almost instantaneously. Friendly beer lovers and brewers were happy to share not only tips and brewing tricks including recipes, but eager to give newbie advise on everything the Pacific Northwest had to offer. Long before my arrival, people warned me of the “Seattle Freeze.” A term that refers to a belief that it is difficult to make new friends, particularly if you’re a transplant from another city. I get it, I’m a woman who likes sports and beer and has a natural ability to strike up conversations with just about anyone. For me, the term was a myth.
Within the first year I was already home brewing and frequenting home brew shops. My new friends were all beer enthusiasts. The community was friendly, welcoming, and fun and the beers were damn good! It didn’t take long before I was on a journey to explore all the breweries in the state.
As I drove through the rolling wheat fields of Eastern, WA and saw the hops being harvested in Yakima Valley, it occurred to me that this state has something special going for it. Everything needed to produce craft beer was born and raised within our borders.
I am not the first person to come up with this brilliant idea. Back in 2011 the idea was posted on the Washington Beer Blog to make Beer the State Beverage in response to coffee being suggested for the honorary title. As of now, no new official drink symbol was recognized, which has given me hope. I’m the new kid in town with passion and enthusiasm. I have yet to experience rejection on this issue, no one has rained on my parade or crushed my beer dreams.
If you are interested in getting involved and want to see “Beer” recognized as the official Drink of WA, please sign the petition at Change.org.
Consider writing to your local district Representative or Senator. We need a sponsor for the bill.
Below is a sample of the letter I sent for reference. To locate your district representative, follow this link.
To e-mail your representative or senator directly, below are links to their contact info:
The legislative process may be slow and arduous but never underestimate the power of social media and collaborative efforts. Please share and spread the word: #WA4BEER
Dear (Assembly Member/Senator) (Last name):
My name is ________ and I am a beer enthusiast, home brewer and resident of _____County.
The beer industry in WA contributes significantly to the economic vitality of our state. I propose Washington State recognize the significance of our natural resources and craft beer culture by officially adding “Beer” as the State Drink.
- Hops grown in Washington account for 77 percent of the US hop crop; the US hop crop represents one third of the world’s hop crop (source: WA Brewers Guild)
- Washington State is ranked fifth in the nation’s top wheat producing states. In addition, wheat ranks number three in the Washington commodities based on production value, representing $1 billion. Washington is one of the nation’s leading wheat-exporting states, with 85 to 90 percent of its production exported each year. (source: WA Grain Commission).
- Washington State ranks 2nd in the US for total number of breweries, with 324 breweries now operating across Washington, generating approximately 15,000 full time jobs and $1.6 Billion in economic activity (source: Brewers Association)
- When coupled with the revenue generated by distributors and retailers, WA brewers economic impact totaled in excess of $6 billion (source: Beer Institute)
- Washington is the only state in the country that has an official Beer Commission: Washington Beer Commission. Established by the Washington State Legislature in 2006, it is the only commodity commission of its kind.
According to our own Washington State Legislature website, “Symbols are often adopted after a concerted effort by citizens to have a significant item recognized for its importance to the state.”
The craft beer industry does not show any signs of slowing down. We have a strong argument for recognizing our natural resources, especially hops and the enduring agricultural profile combined with the overall positive economic impact the brewing industry has on our state. Washington’s breweries, many of them small and family owned, are an integral part of their local communities, operating in all areas of our state
Please consider sponsoring a bill that will recognize “Beer” as the State Drink of Washington.
Your Contact Info