Thanks to head barman Erik Chapman, Capitol Hill cocktail lounge Sun Liquor is already a destination for gin lovers. Now owner Michael Klebeck—who also co-owns the Top Pot Doughnut chain—plans to open his own boutique gin distillery and tasting room nearby at 514 E Pike Street.
“Gin is so clean,” says Klebeck, who loves the deliciously cucumbery Hendrick’s, from Scotland. “It’s an alcohol that tells you when you’ve had enough.” While he is not a trained distiller, Klebeck says he has always been a chemistry geek and plans to use innovation, coupled with properly installed, top-of-the-line equipment, to create a boutique gin in the English style. Botanicals will be sourced from a farm in Eastern Washington.
Klebeck has already applied for a craft distillers license and begun to smash up the interior of a 1930s warehouse near the Mercedes dealership on Pike.
No word yet on what the gin will be called, though it will be packaged under the Sun Liquor Manufacturing Company label, and will be easily distinguishable from some of the other small-batch bottles made nearby. “I love the Pacific Northwest, but I would never put a salmon on the bottle,” says Klebeck.
He says the distillery should be up and running in five to six months.