We’ve been slowly gaining information from those in the industry about the potential of another brewery opening up in our area. A few partners will be leaving Jester King Brewing Company of Austin, Texas and heading to the Upper Left and hope to open a brewery in the Skagit Valley by the end of 2017.

Rumored location of proposed brewery

Rumored location of proposed brewery

We’ve been told from multiple sources that the plan is to open a brewery in Skagit Valley within 1/4mile of Chuckanut Brewery’s nearly opened South Nut location (see pic below.) The brewery would be housed in the old barn (see pic below) and the owners plan to focus on an ag based brewery where they would grow many of their ingredients on site and focus on varying types of fermentation.

The reasons for picking Skagit Valley are important. The Port of Skagit is offering incentives to breweries and other prospective businesses to increase jobs and businesses in the county. Included in this effort is the Port of Skagit’s Bayview Business Park.

The Bayview Business Park embodies the Port of Skagit’s mission, “Good Jobs for Our Community.” The Bayview Business Park is uniquely positioned in northwest Washington, about halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, nestled in the beautiful Skagit Valley.  The park’s proximity to the adjacent Skagit Regional Airport, its easy access to Interstate 5 and the tree-lined trails winding throughout make this premier facility ideal for businesses bringing professional community household wage jobs to Skagit County.

As of October 2014, the Bayview Business Park had 38 tenants employing approximately 855 people in full- and part-time jobs. These tenants are surrounded by 1051.07 acres of beautifully forested industrial property. The park includes many acres of wetlands interspersed throughout the park and walking trails that connect all parcels. All lots have utilities, including fiber optics, with a variety of lot sizes that range from one to nine acres.

The Port of Skagit has already incentived local breweries and businesses to move to their Innovation Zone, what we’ll call their “Brewing Zone.” Those businesses in the brewing industry include

The Port’s website lists the following comparative examples to show why it might be better to move potential businesses to Skagit. The benefits include a tax rate that is 1.3% better than King County, leasing rates that in some cases are nearly 4x cheaper than King County, tax credits for employees land that is cheaper than 2x per square foot. These are substantive and meaningful incentives. I have also heard they are offering no lease payments for extended periods of time to allow for construction and for businesses to maintain cash flow.

The Skagit Advantage: The Bottom Line

Skagit County
Everett, SnohomishCo.
Seattle, KingCo.
Tacoma, PierceCo.
Local Business and Occupation Tax – Manufacturers No tax 0.001 0.00215 0.0011
Local Sales Tax Rate 8.20% 9.20% 9.50% 9.30%
Industrial building leasing rates $3.60 – $5.40/sf $4.20 – $6/sf $4.80 – $12/sf $3.36 – $5.40/sf
Industrial buildings asking price $50 – $70/sf $80 – $100/sf $80 – $100/sf $40 – $100/sf
Industrial land asking price $2.75 – $6/sf $5 – $12/sf $6 – $12/sf $6 – $12/sf

B&O Credit for New Employees in manufacturing  and R & D

Yes No No No

Rural County B&O Tax Credit for New Employees

Yes No No No
Median home price $264,000 $273,800 $452,000 $239,600

We learned that the Port incentivized Chuckanut’s South Nut by “building their slab” and putting in the power, water, driveway, parking lot and plumbed the drains.

These incentives saved us about $500,000 in expenses. – Chuckanut Brewery, Owner Mari Kemper

These are highly enticing incentives for new breweries and they make breweries think long and hard about where to go.

This summer WSU’s Bread Lab is expanding from a 600sqft location to a 12,000sqft location. The Bread Lab’s mission is to find innovative ways to use regional grains to move the grain industry forward. This is obviously a perfect location for the lab, considering it’s proximity to Skagit Malting and the other breweries. Will Kemper of Chuckanut will be helping to oversee a distilling and brewing microlab at the lab.

Skagit Valley’s Craft Brewing Academy put multiple experts from the local brewing industry on it’s Advisory Board to direct it and create a great curriculum. They too will benefit from this “Brewery Zone.”

Skagit Valley is growing its own world class “brewing zone”, using incentives and strategic moves within the industry. They are leveraging one of the fastest growing industry’s in the world to their benefit and the craft brewing world will only improve as a result.

The word is getting out in the brewing industry about The Port of Skagit incentives and benefits. It would then make sense that the partners from Jester King are considering a location that is in such close proximity to all of these options while taking advantage of the rich benefits the Port is offering. Skagit’s Brewing Zone could be a regional leader in brewing innovation. I’ll be investigating the incentives the Port of Bellingham offers and what comparatives we can make to the Port of Skagit next. We’re excited to see what develops in the months and years to come.