I’m a beer girl. I’ve loved craft beer since my college days and my first bartending gig at my on-campus pub in San Diego. With that said, I do enjoy changing it up sometimes and introducing new flavors to my palate. That chance came during my InstaFAM trip last month that led me to Gig Harbor, Washington and the renowned distillery that resides there, Heritage Distilling Co.
Conveniently located right next to our accommodation for the night, as soon as I walked into Heritage I could tell these guys knew exactly what they were doing. I also realized it was the first time I’d ever been on a distillery tour. New experience for the win!
Heritage Distilling Co. is a craft distillery that offers various types of alcohol for whatever your preference is – including gin, whiskey, and vodka. They’ve been the most awarded distillery in North America for the past 3 years in a row by the American Distilling Institute.
Their mantra is “Every Spirit Has A Story” and as we walked through the distillery learning about the history of the business, it was clear to see how much they cherished these stories.
There were many aspects I adored about this distillery but one in particular would have to be the fact that they’re family run and mainly women owned. In a business that is dominated by males, similar to the craft beer industry, I love to see that in action. The distillery makes all of their spirits by hand, from working with farmers, to finding pure water sources, milling the grain, creating their own mash and wort, and using custom-made stills. They truly take on the idea of farm to flask.
We walked through the entrance of the tasting room and saw all of the mini barrels lining the walls for cask club members. Before we got to the tastings, we went downstairs with the head distiller to see where and how the magic happens. It’s not an overly large facility but they use the space they have well.
They have a main still called Nonna (“Grandmother” in Italian) that is Italian-made and glittered beautifully in copper. There were also plenty of personal touches around the distillery, including the “hotter than hell” option at some of the stills and the names that lined the tanks, pointing to the heritage and history of the distillery.
Another aspect of the distillery I enjoyed was all of the crazy cool flavors they offered, especially for their vodka and whiskey. Their best-seller, Brown Sugar Bourbon, was my personal favorite. I’ve never tasted a bourbon that was so smooth. It warmed me up, while not being too bitter, and it left a subtle aftertaste of caramel and cinnamon.
Once we started the tastings, I couldn’t get through all of their vodka flavors because there were so many choices. I was surprised at how much I liked every flavor I tried. I’m not a huge fan of flavored vodka, I usually find it too sweet, but these were another level of deliciousness. It makes a difference when a company uses all natural ingredients and focuses on handcrafted distilling. A few of my favorite flavors for their vodka included bacon, lavender, mango, and sweet ghost pepper.
There are two Heritage distilleries in Gig Harbor, Washington and they’re opening up a brand new one in Eugene, Oregon this fall. Depending on the alcohol laws where you live, they can ship you products from their website. They also offer a wide variety of gifts on their site, including an advent calendar every year around Christmas time with mini spirits for each day. Sounds like the best way to get into the Christmas “spirit” if you ask me. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
I took a couple of bottles home with me (the BSB & lavender vodka), and traveled with them on my recent road trip around Oregon, California, Arizona, and Utah. I shared the sprits with my friends and family members, enjoyed them after long days on the road, and cheered with them after a fulfilling hike. Heritage says that every spirit has a story. I’m glad I created my own story with these two spirits and shared that with my loved ones in the process.
If you’re looking to try one of the best distilleries in North America, check out Heritage and make sure to say hello from me!
Note: Heritage Distilling Co. graciously hosted me at their distillery in Gig Harbor and provided me with alcohol, but all opinions, as always, are my own. I wasn’t even under the influence while writing this. 😉
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