Emerald City Beer Company

American Made Since 2010

Richard Hewitt

Seattle, Washington
Emerald City Beer Company is Seattle’s only dedicated craft lager brewery. Our Lagers are under 5% abv and are made from WA State Barley & Hops.

Tell us about your business.

Emerald City Beer Company literally started in my college apartment kitchen back in 2005. I was earning a Master's in Accounting at the University of Washington and addicted to learning more about the brewing process. Five years later I had my recipe, my brand and location all picked out and we started pouring in August 2010. Due in part to the Great Rescission, funding for 28 years olds starting a brewery was pretty much non-existant. So I selected a crawl, walk, run business model that called for us to partner with another brewery capable of large scale production while we focused on building our tasting room and sales demand in the market for our beers. Just recently we partnered with the USA's largest craft beer distributor, Columbia Distributing. Columbia is capable of getting our products in to accounts that we couldn't serve as an independent. Our short-term plan is to grow past our break-even volume with our current distribution and production partners.

What makes your business stand out?

Our beers, our brands and our relationships. Craft Lagers are the fastest growing segment in beer and our lager beers are quickly gaining respect both locally and nationally. The Seattle PI selected us as the Best New Local Brewery in 2011 and Ivana Pale Lager as the Best Lager. Our brands feature eye-catching modern American Pinups that grabs the drinker’s attention and encourages many of them to try our beers. Building strong relationships is key emphasis for any start-up and has always been a major point of emphasis at ECB. Be it the relationships with the drinkers or our accounts, they are all important to us but none make ECB as unique as the strategic relationships we have with our distribution and contract-brewing partners. Our business model utilizes larger and more established contract brewers and distribution partners to balance some of the risk of your typical start-up brand. This model puts the emphasis on building demand over supply,

What's the best business advice you've received?

Sell it First, Produce it Second and Finance it Third. ECB is still in it’s bootstrapping start-up phase to be sure and has been raising new equity as we go since the started two and half years ago. I think ECB had about $2k in the company account but also had it’s first 15 sales accounts signed up based on samples of my homebrew, a large batch of beer in production at the contract brewery and the lease signed on our space in the Old Rainier Building all before actually beginning the legal process to form the entity and raise capital from family & friends. Luckily for me my friends & family were quickly there with the needed funds and we opened as planned. I raised the entire first round, $100k, from my family & friends and used that money to launch the company, file for trademarks, launch our flagship beer, Dottie Seattle Lager, and cover operations for the first year, including the building of our Beer Lab in the Old Rainier Building in Seattle.

Mark Your Calendar

  • Nominations
    June 3–Aug. 29, 2014

    Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.

  • Judging
    June 23–Sept. 9, 2014

    Judges will select finalists throughout this period.

    Meet the judges
  • Online Voting
    Sept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014

    Vote for your favorite American makers.

    Vote now
  • Winners Announced
    Oct. 17, 2014

    2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.

    See past Award Winners
  • American Made Event
    Nov. 7–8, 2014

    Join us for our annual event in New York City.

    Buy tickets now

More Finalists

  • Vote For Me

    ALT for Living

    Analisse Taft
    A bespoke one stop shop & lifestyle brand in NYC's Flower District featuring a cultivated assortment of fine carpets, textiles and furnishings.
    Design, Textiles
  • Vote For Me


    Emily Rodgers
    Emy + Annie provides handmade children’s toys that are not only eco-friendly, but budget-friendly as well.
  • Vote For Me

    The Palatines

    Jessica Taft Langdon
    The Palatines is a fashion footwear line that focuses on making basic styles with intelligent, subtle design details-all made in los angeles.
    Style, Accessories
  • Vote For Me


    Sawyer DeVuyst
    SAW is a Brooklyn-based design & fabrication studio, creating minimal, modern furnishings that are thoughtful, beautiful and well-crafted.
    Design, Furniture & Home Accessories