Washington has become the first state in the nation to officially sanction a promotional commission to help sell craft beer.
The Washington Beer Commission represents breweries that produce less than 100,000 barrels annually per location. Washington is said to have 84 microbreweries that will be supported by commission activities.
The commission will be funded by a 10-cent per barrel assessment on a maximum of 10,000 barrels per brewer, and generate revenue from festivals and events.
State Department of Agriculture Director Valoria Loveland recently appointed the commission's members: Bob Maphet, Diamond Knot Brewing Co.; Mark Irwin, Northern Lights Brewing Co.; Doug Hindeman, Elliott Bay Brewing Co.; George Hancock, Pyramid Breweries; Jeff Smiley, Baron Brewing Co.; and Allen Rhoades, Anacortes Brewing Co. Arlen Harris was named executive director.
Government sanctioned agricultural promotion boards have been successful in selling everything from milk to raisins and pork to wine. Washington is one of the nation's leading craft beer producers and the top domestic hop producer.