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A Guide to Seattle's Top Distilleries

Red Door Team

Sherri Hansen and Carmen Johnson, a mother daughter duo, together formed the Red Door Team...

Sherri Hansen and Carmen Johnson, a mother daughter duo, together formed the Red Door Team...

Oct 25 5 minutes read

The local spirits movement has long lagged behind local wine or beer. For years, wannabe distillers in Seattle struggled with hurdle after hurdle in their pursuit of making great alcohol. Now, with (slightly) fewer Prohibition-era laws in place, small-batch booze is making steady headway, and dozens of distilleries are helping shape a vibrant scene; even international spirits group Rémy Cointreau has taken notice, recently acquiring renowned producer Westland Distillery.

From vodka guys to whiskey gals, absinthe aficionados to aquavit enthusiast, all types of "spirit" lovers will benefit from this guide to the area's essential liquor tasting rooms.  

1. Seattle Distilling Company

19429 Vashon Hwy SW
Vashon, WA 98070

Seattle Distilling is just a ferry ride away from Downtown, amongst the beautiful farmland of Vashon Island. This family-run business sources local, sustainable ingredients to make scratch spirits, including an herbaceous gin, unfiltered vodka, single-malt whiskey, and even a coffee liqueur for a hyperlocal White Russian.

2. 2Bar Spirits

2960 4th Ave S #106
Seattle, WA 98134

Locally grown corn and wheat are the backbones of these true-to-Washington spirits; in fact, 2Bar’s bourbon was the first to be made from all Washington grain, and both the whiskey and moonshine are smoother than many. 

3. Westland Distillery

2931 1st Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98134 

Recently purchased by The Rémy Cointreau Group, Westland has made a name for itself as being well-stocked with some of the best liquor in town, and its tasting room has a thoughtful selection of small-pour cocktails. Whether the acquisition by an international conglomerate breaks your heart or lifts your spirits, toast the local legend by trying some Scotch-style peated whiskey, still an uncommon product for American producers, or the Pedro Ximinéz and Oloroso cask-aged Sherry Wood whiskey, infinitely drinkable alone or in a cocktail.  

4. 3 Howls Distillery

426 S Massachusetts St
Seattle, WA 98134

This largely stark, industrial space is perpetually filled with dogs, appropriate given the company's name and logo. The owners love to show off their uniquely crafted gin, rum, vodka, and more in their tasting room, from time to time even sharing tastes directly from the still during tours.  

5. Letterpress Distilling

85 S Atlantic St #110
Seattle, WA 98134 

Skip Tognetti's Italian background informs his very fine booze-making efforts. The vodka is lovely, and it forms a perfect base for the limoncello and arancello rosso (blood orange liqueur), which are the real draws here. Look for an amaro coming soon.

6. Copperworks Tasting Room and Distillery

1250 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98101

A visit to this waterfront-adjacent space is a must. On one of the most interesting distillery tours around, you’ll learn about the history of Copperworks' stills, plus get the chance to taste an incredibly flavorful vodka. The company's classic gin and limited-edition aged gins are noteworthy, and two different types of single-malt whiskeys, alternating releases, are worth going out of your way for.  

7. Sun Liquor Distillery

514 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122 

This producer is favored by many barkeeps in town. Slightly overproof, Sun's Gun Club Gin is lovely in a dry martini, and the company's vodka and rum are also well-received. Adding bonus points, the distillery has a full-fledged following for its aged eggnog, which is released annually in very small quantities in the Sun Liquor Lounge, but is rumored to be more readily available this winter.

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