What to Drink: Washington’s Beer, Wine and Spirits

Toast to Washington-born refreshments.

Washington’s climate and geography mingle to produce favorable growing seasons for grapes, hops and other ingredients for our nation’s favorite thirst quenchers. Learn more below about where you can unearth Washington’s own beer, wine and spirits.

Washington Beer

Second only to Germany in hop growing, Washington also ranks eighth in the U.S. for craft breweries per capita. Rainier Brewing and Olympia Brewing were born in Seattle and Tumwater respectively in the late 1800s.

Today, it’s hop-driven India pale ales and imperial ales from breweries such as Tacoma’s Harmon Brewing and Yakima’s Bale Breaker Brewing Company (pictured), plus stouts and porters from the likes of Winthrop’s Old Schoolhouse Brewery that draw raves. See a full list of Washington breweries >>

Washington Spirits

Legislation in 2008 created a craft distillery license, and Washington now has more than 70 licensed distillers. Whiskey led the revival, first at the hands of Spokane’s Dry Fly and now with the likes of Woodinville’s Woodinville Whiskey Co. 

In Seattle, Sodo Spirits Distillery is making the country’s only shochu, a Japanese barley-based distillate, while 3 Howls Distillery and Sun Liquor were the first to produce a Seattle rum. Gig Harbor’s Heritage Distilling Company makes spirits and teaches guests to produce their own. See a full list of Washington's breweries and distilleries >>

Washington Wine

Washington, the second-largest premium wine producer in the country, has more than 750 wineries across 13 American Viticultural Areas producing nearly 12 million cases of wine annually. Growing regions range from the hot and sunny Red Mountain where grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Malbec thrive, to the Columbia Valley where Riesling grows in cool and elevated areas. See a full list of Washington's wineries >>

Tasting rooms are abundant — from Vintner’s Village, just off I-90 in Prosser, to Woodinville, which has 90-plus wineries. Walla Walla Valley, which is home to nearly 100 wineries and more than 1,600 acres of vineyards, is best known as Washington wine country, while Lake Chelan is where lakes and grapes gloriously collide. Read more about Walla Walla Valley Winery Tours >>

Non-Alcoholic Favorites

Not everything here is boozy. Coffee has been big since Starbucks opened in 1971, while Burlington’s Sakuma Bros. has been handpicking and crafting tea for a decade. DRY Soda Co.’s natural sodas bubble with lavender and blood orange, and ginger beer from small producers like Rachel’s Ginger Beer has taken bars and Pike Place Market by storm.

-Erin James

Photo Credit: Grit City Photography