A Great Big Hello To Woodinville!
Since my teenage years, I've always been fascinated with fermentation. I've made apple wine, hard cider, beer, LOTS of beer. I was the unofficial bartender at my former employer every Friday afternoon, provided beer for birthdays and weddings, for bachelor parties, just about every kind of event that you can think of. People always bugged me to throw in the towel of my corporate career and sell my beer. My response always was,
"Brewing beer is my hobby, I love it and it don't want to make work out of it!"
Little did I understand where my passion would take me. Thanks to an amazing career in the tech industry, I was able to travel a LOT, all over the world! Wherever I went, I toured breweries and distilleries, more of the latter than the former. I find ways to meet the head distillers and I'd unleash the thousands of questions that were bouncing around in my head. Never once did I find a head distiller that wasn't willing to talk, to share and to invite me into their experience.
10 years ago, we bought a piece of land in Eastern Washington. I was a dream of mine to own something remote, a blank canvas that I could build upon and a place where I could connect back with nature. We drilled a water well and not knowing what kind of what was coming from 500' in the ground we got it tested. When I got the report back, after analyzing every single detail, I exclaimed, "We have Whiskey Water!"
For those who may not be as well informed, Whiskey Water is what made bourbon and whiskey possible in Kentucky and Tennesse so many years ago. It's moderately hard water with nothing else in it. Hard water is almost always accompanied by iron and iron just ruins everything, from your drinking water, laundry, sinks, you name it, it's not pleasant. But when you find that hard water without that iron, then you've got something special! The calcium carbonate tempers the PH in fermentation, it create a happy environment for yeast to thrive and do its thing! And I had a nearly endless supply of it coming from the ground!
I knew what I had to do and that was to start a distillery. I got my business license, I hired engineers and consultants, bought a bunch of books and couldn't stop learning about distilling on the internet. But it wasn't meant to be and that is a story for another time and my dream had to be put on hold. That was 2013...
Fast forward to June 2023, I was working senior management role at a California based technology company. And my manager decided that he was better off without me and gave me my walking papers. For the 3rd time in my career, I was without employment, I was burned out and tired. I loved the kind of work that I did, I loved the people that I worked with and I loved the buzz of making big businesses grow from my experience. But I didn't love the egos that needed to be caressed and the verbal abuse that sometimes came from less competent people that had "authority". I got off the call with HR, called my AMAZING wife and said,
"I'm done with tech, we're starting the distillery!"
And you know what she said? "Yes! Finally!"
I've signed a lease for a space in the Woodinville Warehouse District, made payments on equipment and stared the permitting process (that's another subject for another time). I wake up every morning working on my passion now for myself and my family and I couldn't be more excited!
I'll use this blog as a space to share the progress in getting things setup, as we grow, I'll also share some drink recipes and random thoughts. Most of all thought, I'm looking forward to seeing you all at our grand opening in February 2024!