The big wine and microbrewery scene in Washington is about to get some company. Ready to try some locally made whiskey, gin and vodka?
Thanks to a new state law that allows distilleries to host tasting rooms and sell spirits on their premises, you can expect about a dozen small craft distilleries here by next year.
Dry Fly Distilling in Spokane is first out of the gate, offering tastings for its vodka, gin and by Christmas, a rare wheat whiskey, with bourbon, single malt and rye whiskey to follow over the next two years. Berle ”Rusty” Figgins plans to open distilleries in Mattawa, Grant County and Ellensburg, and singer/songwriter Danny O’Keefe, a Vashon Island resident, may build a distillery in Woodinville.
The recent interest is due to a new law passed in March that allows micro distilleries to operate like a winery or brewery. Previously, only the state could sell liquor, a holdover law from the end of Prohibition.
Oregon lawmakers give distilleries more leeway, which explains why Oregon already has about 20 small craft distilleries, most in Portland.
If our artisan distillery scene resembles Portland’s, we’re in for a treat. Portland arguably has the nation’s most exciting and cutting-edge microdistillery scene. Try Clear Creek’s Pear Brandy and House Spirits’ Aviation Gin.
You can check the Washington State Liquor Board site to see if your local liquor store carries those two Portland spirits.