Our Story

Thank you to our friends, families, customers, and beer enthusiasts for being part of our story. Our first few years have been quite a journey, and it’s our community that has made it worthwhile. We hope to be sharing beer with you for many more years to come. Here are just a few of the highlights from the past few years.

-Alex, Dione, Robby, and Debbie

2007 | Homebrewing in the Garage
Learning how to brew from friends, books, and classes at Larry’s, Alex Dittmar became obsessed with crafting good beer. A longtime employee at Alaska Air, he had no idea at the time where his obsession would lead.
Summer 2008 | First Place at the San Diego County Fair
Alex’s first competition as a home brewer was down in San Diego. He entered one beer, later to become the Jet City ESB, a beer originally brewed for a friend’s wedding. After hearing the winners for second and third place, Alex was getting ready to walk away when they called his name for first place. This was the first of many awards.
Summer 2009 | We’re Going to Start a Brewery
In the summer of 2009, we started planning the brewery. We had no idea where we’d end up. Our original logo had a Seattle skyline, which was later removed when we settled in Kent.
Summer 2009 | Product Testing
It’s a rough job, but somebody’s got to drink all that beer! Longtime friends Robby and Debbie let us use their backyard to share our beer among friends. The chocolate coconut stout was an instant hit, and went on to become one of our most popular special beers.
October 2009 | Blank Slate
After weeks of searching for a location that was zoned properly, priced right, and even tougher, okay with brewery moving in, we finally settled on a space in Kent. It was going to take a lot of work and imagination to make this into our Tap Room! This is the view from our original seating area looking at the back wall that now holds our chalkboard. In 2011, the left hand wall would come down, but we’ll get to that later…
March 2010 | Labor of Love
Through the winter of 2009-2010, we spent most of our days doing construction. Dione’s dad, Dennis Idleman, designed our bars, while Craig Martinson helped make all of our furniture a reality through his amazing carpentry.
February 2010 | The Brew System Arrives
Our original brewing system was 1/2 bbl. We’d be brewing one keg at a time. The plan? If this brewery thing doesn’t work out, we can stick our equipment in the back of a truck and haul it away.
March 2010 | We’re Open for Business
Airways opened it’s doors to the public on March 11, 2010. Our initial lineup included the T-Tail Blonde, Jet City ESB, and the Starliner Stout.
March 2010 | Hops and Props
Just a few weeks after opening, we took our beer to our first festival. Fittingly, it happened to be Hops and Props at the Museum of Flight. Alex, Dione, Robby and Debbie were all there to pour beer, including the Triple Chocolate Stout.
2010 | What Are Those Things?
In our first few months, we started to gain recognition, not only for our beer, but our oversized taphandles. Our original taphandles were made from 747 exit door handles. They weighed 5lbs each, which put a lot of stress on our taps. We still have them, but no longer use them as taphandles out of fear that they would snap off one day.
2010 | Greg Wick
The early days were a lot of work as we figured out how to operate our new business. Greg was there to keep us entertained, and do dishes. Our customers loved him because he constantly forgot to write down what beers they had on our post-it note tab system. He was fired at least seven times a day, but we always made him come back.
October 2010 | The Sky Hag is Born
During the summer of 2010, Alex brewed a test batch of imperial IPA. Due to heat, the batch was set behind the bar to ferment. We forgot about it, and Alex almost dumped it thinking there was no way it could be any good. Luckily he tasted it before pouring it down the sink! It was so good that it became the first new beer to be added to our regular line up since opening. The Sky Hag was appropriately released on the week of Halloween, and immediately took the lead in beer sales.
February 2011 | The Original Tap Room
Our original Tap Room was small, and only seated 18 people indoors. We were running out of space quickly.
March 2011| Airways Turns One
In March of 2011, we celebrated our first birthday. After continuous growth since opening and a constantly packed Tap Room, it was also time to take the leap. Alex and Dione both quit their day jobs to focus on a multi-phase expansion plan that would take several months to reach.
March 2011 | Robby and Debbie Leviton Join Airways
Although Robby and Debbie had been huge supporters of Airways since the start, it became official in the Spring of 2011. There were now four of us, and we were happy to add their sales expertise and passion for people and good beer to the team.
March 2011 | No Turning Back
On March 24, 2011, we cut the first hole into the unit next door, which would double our space and allow us to move in a much larger brewing system.
Spring 2011 | Construction
We spent most of Spring 2011 under destruction and construction. Since shutting down for a few months wasn’t an option, we worked up until an hour before opening, then wheeled all of the furniture back into place and cleaned up before opening on Thursdays and Fridays. Each week brought different challenges: a new route to the restrooms, holes in the floor, and dust everywhere. Thankfully, our customers were patient and went along with us for the ride.
Summer 2011 | A Second Location
As if one location under construction wasn’t enough, part of our plan included opening a second location in Old Kent. This location would have a kitchen, and allow us to share our passion for Washington beer with a new part of Kent.
Summer 2011 | Demolition Day at the Bistro
In preparation for construction, we needed to completely gut the new location. While it had been a restaurant previously, the decor was outdated and the walled in kitchen didn’t fit our vision of an open kitchen that would allow the people creating our food to be part of the social environment.
July 2011 | Tap Room Expansion Complete
In July of 2011, we celebrated our completed Tap Room expansion! Over 600 people turned out to try our lineup of special beers. We were also surprised by the gift of an Airways neon sign from several of our customers. The sign now hangs in the window at the Bistro.
October 2011 | The New Brewing System Arrives
Our new 10bbl brewhouse finally arrived in October, dwarfing our original system. Unfortunately, it was 3 months late, throwing our staggered construction plan into chaos. The arrival on the same week we were opening the Bistro meant that the equipment would sit until we had everything running smoothly at the Bistro.
November 2011 | The Bistro is Open
The Airways Brewing Beer & Bistro opened on November 1, 2011.
Spring 2012 | Back to Work
Just after Airways turned two on March 11th, 2012, we were finally getting close to finishing work on the brewery.
May 2012 | Our First Batch
The brewhouse is finally installed, completing 18 months of continuous construction. On May 19th, 2012, we brewed our first batch of Sky Hag on the new system.
September 2012 | Airways’ First Bottle Run
With our Final Departure™ Imperial Stout, a limited release beer brewed to commemorate the “end of days” as predicated by the Mayan calendar, we introduced our first bottles.
March 2013 | Packaged Products Launch
To celebrate the brewery’s third anniversary, Airways launched an updated look as well as an expanded packaged product line including Sky Hag IPA®, Chocolate Stout, Pre Flight Pilsner™, and PSA® Summer Ale. Bottles and cans can now be found throughout Western Washington, as well as on airwaysbrewing.com.

Stay tuned for what’s next from Airways Brewing Company!