Craft brewing, cider-making, and craft distilling companies in Thurston County have reason to celebrate as the Washington State Department of Commerce approved the re-designation of Thurston County as an Innovation Partnership Zone (IPZ) through Sept. 30, 2023, with the addition of cider.

In October 2015, the Washington State Department of Commerce granted Thurston County IPZ status for the Thurston Craft Brewing and Distilling Innovation Partnership Zone. In recent years, the County has become home to a growing number craft brewing, cider-making, and craft distilling companies. Furthermore, an increase in craft product demand has made it a prime sector for growth.

Current partners in the project include South Puget Sound Community College, Washington State University Extension, private developers, grain producers, craft breweries, distilleries, and cideries. The Thurston Economic Development Council is the administrator of the IPZ.

Recognizing the power of partnering with like-minded companies and individuals, Washington has launched IPZs around the state. In fact, the Department of Commerce has designated 14 IPZs throughout Washington — each unique and designed to foster collaboration among businesses, organizations, learning institutions, and individuals around a shared goal — boosting commerce through innovation.