1984Not quite. Microbrewing actually got started inPortland in 1980 when Chuck Coury opened Cartwright Brewing. Although the brewery didn't survive the suspect beers it produced, credit is due for starting first. The next extant brewery to start was BridgePort, which produced its first beer in 1984. The Widmer brothers may have gotten their company registered first, but they didn't get beer to the market until 1985. Credit BridgePort for being the oldest functioning brewery.
Widmer Brothers Brewing opens and lights a powder keg of drunken mania: the now infamous microbrewers movement. Widmer is a massive success. Soon after, Portland Brewing Co. and Bridgeport Ales follow suit, while dozens of smaller breweries start cooking.
Below is a brief timeline of key events in Northwest Brewing. Washington breweries are listed in gray text.
1856 - Henry Weinhard founds his brewery
1883 - Andrew Hemrich and John Kopp begin selling "Rainier" beer at their Bay View Brewery
1896 - Leopold Schmidt founds Olympia Brewing (originally "Capital Brewing")
1928 - Arnold Blitz's Portland Brewing Company merges with Henry Weinhard
1974 - Blitz-Weinhard introduces "Private Reserve"
1980 - Chuck Coury founds Cartwright Brewing
1982 - Paul Shipman founds Redhook.
1982 - Bert Grant opens America's first brewpub in Yakima
1983 - Mike Hale founds Hale's in Spokane
1984 - Dick Ponzi founds BridgePort Brewing--now Oregon's oldest brewery
1984 - Pyramid ("Hart") begins in Kalama
1985 - Widmer, Portland Brewing founded; McMenamins begins brewing