Article via The Olympian
By Rolf Boone
A building that will house Ninkasi Brewing, Heritage Distilling and a South Puget Sound Community College brewing and distilling education center is set to open this spring in Tumwater’s craft district, Mayor Pete Kmet said Wednesday.
Kmet made that announcement at the “state of the community” address, a Thurston County Chamber of Commerce event that brings together the mayors of the county’s largest jurisdictions and the County Commission chair to talk about 2019 accomplishments and 2020 goals.
Kmet updated about 200 people on the future of brewing in Tumwater as well as its past.
The new building has sprouted at Capitol Boulevard Southeast and Tumwater Valley Drive Southeast.
In addition to Ninkasi Brewing of Eugene, Oregon, Heritage Distilling of Gig Harbor and the college, the private developers have “other (tenant) contracts in place as well,” Kmet said.
A trail also will be opened along the Deschutes River and an outdoor performance venue is planned, Kmet said about the district.
The site of the city’s beer-brewing past also is looking brighter, he said.
Renovations continue on the birthplace of Olympia beer — the historic brick brewhouse that sits below Tumwater Falls. A $500,000 state grant has helped restore the brick work and roof of the old building and a second grant will be used to reinforce the structure for future use.
The building was previously owned by developer George Heidgerken, but he later donated it to the city.
“It could be used productively,” said Kmet about the historic brewhouse.
Kmet acknowledged that the more modern brewhouse on Custer Way was “dealt a major setback” last year after a former transformer spilled oil with PCBs into the Deschutes River and Capitol Lake.
The cost to clean up the spill, which was overseen by the state Department of Ecology, is estimated at $10 million, Kmet told the audience.
The Olympian reported last month that a final report on the spill from Ecology is expected early next year. Among other things, the report will look at ownership history, maintenance and security at the brewery property to identify the responsible party.