• Craft beer makers reviving Tacoma historic brewery district

    By: Kevin McCarty

    Updated:

    Tacoma has always been a beer town. And these days business is booming. 

    Several independent craft beer makers are reviving the city’s historic brewery district.
     
    “I think it’s phenomenal,” said Andy Kesner, Pacific Brewing and Malting company director of sales.
      
    Craft breweries large and small are popping up in and around the city's historic brewery district along Pacific avenue in roughly the same area that once housed three large brewers a century ago. Heidelberg, Columbia and the original Pacific breweries once operated very close to an area now seeing an explosion of beer makers.
     
    From 19th street to south 55, large independent breweries are up and running or in the works with several small micro-brewers also dotting the area. Recently Gig Harbor based Seven Seas has announced they'll open a large scale operation after converting an old warehouse near S. 21st and Jefferson streets.

    “He will open a new brewery, one of the largest from what I understand, in the Puget Sound [area]” said Tacoma Economic Development council director Ricardo Nogeura.

    On the other end new district Pacific Brewing and Malting Company, named after a company that was once the second largest beer maker on the West Coast, recently expanded their output capacity fivefold by purchasing the Edmonds-based American brewery.
     
    “There’s an unquenchable thirst for craft beers these days,” said Kesner. “The segment is growing rapidly. So I think there’s room for more breweries.”
       
    The Ram restaurant and brewery chain has purchased and will convert an old electrical substation at 25th and S. C. streets, and Oregon based McMenamin's is already remodeling the dilapidated Elks temple near south 5 and Broadway for a brewery, restaurant and boutique hotel.
     
    Noguera says all this growth is tied, in part,  to the success of the nearby University of Washington Tacoma.
     
    “A lot of it’s really feeding off the university, the university’s expansion. Taking these historic buildings, putting them back to productive use.”

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