Across the nation the craft distillery movement is on the rise. According to the American Craft Spirits Association the number of distilleries has grown by 1,115 since 2010. Seattle alone has more distilleries than any city in the country, with 17 licensed distilleries within its city limits. And King County (roughly the greater Seattle area) with 26 distilleries.
"Just like the craft winery and brewery industry growth over the last several years, the craft distilling industry is also on the rise. Consumers are passionate about seeking out new products and unique flavors. This produces an opportunity for new distilleries and that's why we're seeing folks jumping into the game,” Steven Stone, President of the Washington Distillers Guild, Owner/Distiller at Sound Spirits.
Inquisitive, craft-cocktail enthusiasts are sharing in the growth excitement with their curiosity behind the still and the desire to know where their product is coming from. A number of Washington distillers including Fremont Mischief take pride in their farming partnerships with local farmers such as Ebey Road Farms on Whidbey Island and look forward to answering questions from their community.
“The only way we know how to farm is to produce grains that we believe in,” Wilbur Bishop, Owner-Operator, Ebey Road Farms.
In continued efforts to establish and reaffirm the relationships between distillers, farmers, and their surrounding communities, local guilds host events featuring tasting and educational seminars. In July 2017, the Washington Distillers Guild is set to host its fifth annual PROOF Washington Distillers Festival where almost 40 craft distilleries will share samples and insight behind more than 150 different products.
Event Organizer, Dick Stephens, is excited for the growth as he states, “PROOF is a reflection of the consumer’s excitement for local craft spirits and cocktails. Events like these provide an opportunity for distillers to connect with their audience and hear what they think and want. Conversely, consumers get to ‘meet the makers’ at PROOF and learn the story for each product poured. The event is designed to appeal to first-time attendees as well as those astute tasters, which makes this one degree of separation personal and conversational."
The distilling community hopes that events like these will continue to inspire and inform individuals of the hard work, dedication, and commitment distillers and farmers take in providing high-quality products for anyone interested in learning more about the craft.
Proof Washington - The Premier Grand Tasting Event of the Washington Distillers Guild - http://www.proofwashington.org - July 8, 2017 at Fremont Studios.