2015 Manufacturer of the Year
Fremont Brewing Company, Seattle, @fremontbrewing
This premier award recognizes companies having a commitment to business excellence with a positive impact not only on the company, but for the local community and state as a whole. Judges evaluated the entrepreneurial spirit of the firm’s ability to successfully and creatively solve challenges in a way that raise the industry standard. Involvement in state/local public policy issues affecting manufacturers was also considered.
The Fremont Brewing Company was founded in 2008 as recession took hold, forcing them to grow with cost-saving and conservation measures that have become part of the company DNA. With start-up money tight, they put a 28-foot wall down the middle of their production space and subleased to a green energy start-up that created methane from the brewery’s spent grain. Fremont uses organic hops and are working to revive sustainable grain farms in Western Washington. The company has grown from four employees at startup to 61, quickly becoming the third-largest independently owned brewery in Washington. They provide full health coverage for employees and their families, give 21 days of paid leave for vacation and sick days, and even give a weekly beer allotment. After averaging more than 75 percent growth per year, the company is expanding into a larger facility in Ballard to meet demand. Fremont Brewing is helping advance a more positive business climate in Washington, successfully opposing a proposed beer excise tax and giving support for allowing brewery tasting rooms to serve cider.