Who True crafters: Al Danger Heck, his wife Mo Danger Heck, and friends Mac Kenney II, Jason Smith, and Perry Sanders created Project V out of a garage hobby, using four stills they built themselves. Mac, Mo, and her brother Dan work full time at the distillery turning out about 400 bottles of vodka a week. Their spent grain is fed to pigs in Snohomish, and the pigs in turn are fed to Project V’s customers as sausage. What Project V has distinguished itself via its Single Silo vodka ($29), a neutral grain spirit that captures the essence of the wheat with which it’s made—the grains come from Mo and Dan’s aunt and uncle’s family farm in Withrow in Eastern Washington. Where The Woodinville tasting room, where they store bottles in an old Volkswagen bus, also sells flasks, glasses, olives, and chocolates. When Stop by Saturdays and Sundays between noon and 5.
Project V Distillery and Sausage Company, 19495 144th Ave NE Ste A130 Woodinville, 425-398-1738; projectvdistillery.com
Who Richard Anderson has been making Westcott Bay Cider for 12 years. Now with partners Suzanne and Hawkins Pingree the operation has expanded to include distilling; products include an apple eau-de-vie, three kinds of gin, thimbleberry brandy, and a lavender and wild rose liqueur. What and Where This fall, the distillers began barrel-aging eau-de-vie; in several years they hope to bottle it as Calvados-style brandy. When Find out what a thimbleberry is and watch the distillers in action by appointment or during summer hours on Saturdays from 3 to 5.
San Juan Island Distillery, 12 Anderson Ln, San Juan Island, 360-378-2606; sanjuanislanddistillery.com
Who Sidetrack is the new venture from Larry and Linda Person, owners of the U-pick berry operation Lazy River Farm, and their nephew David O’Neal. What and Where Try Sidetrack’s liqueurs (strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry) and brandies (strawberry and blueberry) at the tasting room on the farm in Kent. If it’s nice out, bring a picnic. Their products are also available at select state liquor stores and by special order. Calling all boozy brides and grooms: Sidetrack will soon open up the farm to weddings and culinary events. When Sip your samples Saturdays from 11 to 5, Sundays from 11 to 4, and by appointment.
Sidetrack Distillery, 27010 78th Ave S, Kent, 206-963-5079; sidetrackdistillery.com
Who Ryan Hembree’s self-described “home-brew hobby gone crazy.” Formally educated in winemaking at Washington State University, Hembree previously worked as agricultural coordinator for Snohomish County while making beer, wine, and cider at home. He definitely appreciates the new opportunities the craft distilling laws provide farmers—and hobbyists. What and Where Skip Rock Potato Vodka ($34), the only potato vodka being made in the state. It’s “a little different, but a whole lot harder” than wheat vodka, says Hembree. His vodka has a richer profile and is more robust than wheat vodkas, and doesn’t lose its flavor when you make mixed drinks with it. Skip Rock’s tasting room is in Snohomish at the same locale as MacDonald Distillery. Hembree (who is also MacDonald’s Head Distiller) and Glen MacDonald have been friends for four years since meeting at a distilling workshop. Skip Rock Potato Vodka is also available as a shelf listing at state liquor stores. When Check the website or call ahead for tasting room hours and distillery tours.
Skip Rock Distillers, 104 Ave C, Snohomish, 425-330-4885; skiprockdistillers.com
Who Sodo Spirits—run by K. C. and Amy Sheehan—is the only United States distillery making shochu, a Japanese spirit that’s lower in alcohol and calories than vodka or gin, from scratch. The Sheehans got the idea from a friend who runs a 60-year-old shochu distillery in Japan, where it’s now at least as popular as sake. What and Where To make their EvenStar Premium Cocktail Shochu ($32), the Sheehans incubate Washington-grown barley to create koji, a fungus, which is fermented with more barley, then worked through a copper still. When There is no tasting room at present but shochu is available for purchase in the retail section at the SoDo distillery and at select liquor stores.
Who Master Distiller Dennis Robertson has been operating his Woodinville distillery since 2008. This year, with apprentice Matthew Farmer, he unveiled a second tasting room where they hold barbecues in summer and bottling parties from time to time. What and Where One of the first craft distilleries to open in Washington, Soft Tail makes grappa from the leftover grape bits (called pomace) from a nearby winery. Its popular vodka sold more than 620 gallons this year. When Soft Tail has two tasting rooms in Woodinville; one is open Saturdays and Sundays only from noon to 5, and the other is open weekdays from 9 to 5.
Soft Tail Spirits, 14356 Woodinville Redmond Rd, Woodinville (Sat & Sun). 12280 NE Woodinville Dr Ste C, Woodinville (Mon–Fri), 425-770-1154; softtailspirits.com