According to the Brewers Association’s Director, Paul Gatza, he believes Washington’s “commission may be the first state-sanctioned promotional group for craft brewers.”
“That it’s part of the state government system, that it’s recognized as a pretty important agricultural product to the state, makes it exciting,” he said. “When you’re dealing with an alcoholic beverage industry, it’s hard to get the state to get anywhere near it except to regulate it. But to promote the quality of the state’s beers is just a wonderful direction.”
It’s certainly great to see a state take an active interest in promoting craft beer. It implies they recognize the importance of small, local businesses and want to help support them.
I’ve met Jeff on many occasions and he seems like a great person for the job. I hope he does a terrific job and other states use Washington state as a model to do their own similar beer commissions.
The new Beer Commissioner, Jeff Smiley (at far right), along with beer writer Fred Eckhardt, “Crazy Dave” Heist, owner of HopTown Brewing Co. in Pleasanton, California (in back), and Jeff’s wife, homebrewing enthusiast Kate Gaiser. This was taken at GABF in 2005.