Whiskey, Stills, and Mash
by Jason Shrum
Here’s a fun question: How many craft distilleries did we have in the state of Washington 5 years ago? The answer...zero. Craft Distilling was illegal in the state of Washington going all the way back to January 17th, 1920. You might know that date, as it represents a nationwide prohibition in the United States. Thanks a lot Woodrow Wilson. The repeal of prohibition would not come until Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933.
But what is craft distilling? Here is how the state defines it:
-'Craft Distilleries' are producing less than 20,000 gallons and at least half the raw materials are grown in Washington State.
- For Distilleries Producing less than 20,000 gallons, the annual state license fee is reduced from $2000 to $100.
- Allows Craft Distilleries to sell up to 2 liters of spirits for off premise consumption per customer.
- Allows Craft Distilleries to provide 1/2 ounce samples of spirits of it's own production, maximum of 2 ounces per customer.
- Makes alcohol server permits mandatory for serving samples at a distillery.
Pretty simple guidelines that are peaking the interests of local entrepreneurs, because now, 5 years later, we have roughly 90 distilleries in the state of Washington. that is more than any other state in the United States and more than Tennessee and Kentucky combined. Seattle is on the forefront of this Craft Distilling uprising, boasting 16 distilleries within city limits.
The best part of all of this is that Road Dog’s Tours is visiting most of these fine businesses. Whatever your taste buds crave, there seems to be a little of something for everyone. While whiskeys will take some time to develop (there are a few producing including 3 Howls, and Westland) because of the barrel aging process, there are some many other fun products to try. Whether it’s a Limoncello from Letterpress, Moonshine from 2Bar, Aquavit from Sound Spirits, or Shochu from SoDo Spirits, Seattle has tons to offer.
So many spirits, so little time, but Road Dog’s can take you there and show you what happens behind the scenes as well. We are there, with the help of many awesome local Seattle distilleries, to take you from grain to glass. All Road Dog’s Distillery Tours also include a shot glass and t-shirt before it’s over. Cheers!