Following in the gin-drenched footsteps of Sun Liquor’s Michael Kleeback, Kirby Kallas-Lewis plans to open a Capitol Hill tasting room for his distillery—Oola—within 60 days. And he hopes to have a vodka and a gin listed in Washington State liquor stores by Christmas (provided there are still WS liquor stores in which to list them).
Yes, all you people who care about such things, he makes his own mash. And not just for the aged spirits. "Even with vodka, there’s a lot that happens in fermentation that affects the product," says Kallas-Lewis. Amen to that, Kirby.
Future plans include a pisco-style brandy made with wine from Eastern Washington (Kallas-Lewis has a yet-to-open boutique hotel in Waitsburg, Washington). The wine he’ll use in the brandy was originally slated for bottling but got repurposed as bulk thanks to the sad economy. Sad economy=good wine for pisco. He also plans to roll out an Irish-style whiskey.
Kallas-Lewis learned the distilling dark arts at the Dry Fly apprentice program in Spokane, and at workshops around the country.
I will update you on the exact address of the tasting room as soon as I get the go-ahead.