Back in our December issue, we published a guide to the craft distilleries that have populated the state since Washington lawmakers created the craft distillery license in 2008. And since then, we’ve continued keeping a close eye on local spirits. With the transition from Soviet-style state-controlled stores to liquor flowing in the aisles of QFC and Costco,
more underage kids have better access to booze than ever it’s been an eventful year. But distillers continue to throw their bottle caps into the ring. Some, like Rain City, got caught in the “prohibition” period where state stores weren’t buying and direct sales were illegal. Others, like broVo, are now in “ten times the number of stores” as before. Here’s a sampling of what’s new and growing in the spirit scene.
Though it’s not open yet, 2Bar is wrapping up construction of its tasting room in a warehouse which, as owner Nathan Kaiser gleefully announced on Facebook, is “exactly 10 seconds (walking)” from the spacious SoDo liquor store that’s slated to reopen. Kaiser, who named the distillery after the Texas ranch run by generations of his family, hopes to kick off business within the next couple of months. 2Bar’s liquor lineup will include gin, vodka, and moonshine, with aged whisky and bourbon slated for future release.
2960 Fourth Ave S, Ste 106; 2barspirits.com
BroVo is one of the few distilleries not making gin and vodka to while away the years while its whisky ages. Cofounder Mhairi Voelsgen originally wanted to make scotch, but after much research and discussion with business partner Erin Brophy, the pair decided to make botanical-infused liqueurs. Their current lineup includes Douglas fir, ginger, lavender, lemon balm, and rose geranium, sourced from places like Northport, Quinault, Ferndale, and Puyallup. Also in the works: an amaro.
No tasting room. Brovospirits.com
With plans to open this fall, Jason Parker is constructing a sizable tasting room and retail shop right in the heart of the downtown waterfront. Parker, who’s brewed for Pike, Redhook, and more, loves his malts. He’ll offer up three whiskies and three gins in the glass-walled, 6,900-square-foot space.
51 University St; Copperworksdistilling.com
Rain City Spirits
Cory Duffy, like many other distillers, comes from a background in restaurants. Duffy fell in love with winemaking years ago, but the barriers to entry were too high. When a local distiller introduced him to the spirit world, Duffy was hooked. He now makes Rain City Vodka, spurred by the desire to make it Seattle’s finest. He also has plans for a coffee liqueur called Rain City Drip. Rain City is currently too small for a tasting room (expansion to a “top secret” location is in the works), but you can make an appointment to drop by for a tour.
321 Third Ave S, Ste 204. 206-464-7246; raincityvodka.com
Glass Distillery launched its flagship product, Glass Vodka, on June 8 of this year. Cofounders Ian MacNeil and Adrian Higginbotham previously worked together on a biodiesel startup, and a common interest in creating another product they were both passionate about led them into distilling. Glass serves up grape-based vodka in a 49-seat SoDo tasting room featuring design elements repurposed from the almost 100-year-old original building.
1712 First Ave S. By appointment only, 206-686-7210; glassdistillery.com
Carbon Glacier Distillery
Owners Keith Quimby and Chris Lyons met at BNSF Railway where they work as transportation supervisors. United by their shared background as military vets (Air Force and Navy, respectively) and passion for distilling—Chris, a Kentucky native, was basically born in bourbon—the pair settled at the foot of Mt. Rainier, where they brew their B4 Premium Handcrafted Vodka and forthcoming gin (soon), whiskey, and bourbon (both 2013). While the men brew, wives Karol and Marian run the tasting room.
533 Church St, Wilkeson. Fri–Mon noon–6; Carbonglacierdistillery.com
Dark Moon Artisan Distillery
Snohomish-based Dark Moon doesn’t have a real tasting room, but stop by to hang out with master distiller John Dawson and you’ll get to try his unique apple-based Singing Whale Vodka—“tasty enough to sip straight.” Coming soon, another unusual liquor—a white rum being released in August. Dawson and co-owner Kathy Alley are usually in seven days a week, but recommend calling ahead on the weekend.
1830 Bickford Ave, Ste 108, Snohomish. Mon–Fri 8–5, call ahead Sat & Sun; 360-217-8244; facebook.com/darkmoondistillery
Ezra Cox Distillery
Led by Ezra Cox, a former brewmaster and production manager of a craft brewery, this distillery focuses on single-malt spirits. The first offering will be Ezra Cox Moonshine, with a portion being aged for future release as whisky, along with vodka. Cox also plans to produce limited batches of other spirits. The tasting room, in historic Centralia, retails the liquor and related merch and gives guests a window into the production activities.
719 North Tower Ave, Centralia. By appointment only; facebook.com/ezracoxdistillery.centraliawa
Owners Jarrett Tomal, Flynn Huntington, and Matt McCartney got tired after years in the construction industry and decided, hey, we like to drink whisky, so why not make it? Tomal does the distilling and co-owns Parliament with Huntington, while McCartney serves as VP of sales. Currently the trio offers Ghost Owl single-malt Pacific Northwest moonshine, and whisky is on the way.
13708 24th St E, Ste 103, Sumner. Mon–Sat noon–7, Sun noon–6; Ghostowlwhisky.com