The Kitsap Peninsula is home to three craft distilleries that take great care with every premium drop of whiskey, vodka and gin, and are racking up impressive accolades as a result. May we suggest a tasting tour? We promise it will leave you in high spirits!
Heritage Distilling Co.
For the last three years, Gig Harbor’s Heritage Distilling Co. has been the American Distilling Institute’s most awarded craft distillery in North America, winning 2016 medals that included best vodka, best gin and best flavored bourbon. Presiding over a specially designed Italian still, co-founder and master distiller Justin Stiefel has grown Heritage into one of the largest craft distilleries in the Pacific Northwest. No trip to Gig Harbor’s downtown waterfront is complete without a visit to the Heritage tasting room, which offers flights of four samples for $5-$10, simple cocktails and a cask club program that allows you to customize and age your own spirits. Popular flavors include brown sugar bourbon, coffee-flavored vodka and blood orange vodka.
Address: 3118 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor
Waterfront Tasting Room Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays
Bainbridge Organic Distillers
Washington state’s first certified organic distillery won a rare honor in 2016 when Whisky Advocate magazine bestowed Craft Whiskey of the Year honors on its Bainbridge Yama American Single Grain Barley Mizunara Japanese Oak Cask. The richly layered spirit that “balances sweet marshmallow, toasted almond and marzipan with a bright beam of tart mouthwatering citrus – clementine, lemon and yuzu” was aged six years in rare Japanese oak and proceeds from the $495-a-bottle whiskey support the historic Yama Japanese immigrant village on the island. Other products, distilled from Washington state grains in small batches, are much more affordable, but still celebrated, including Bainbridge Legacy Organic Vodka, Bainbridge Heritage Organic Doug Fir Gin and Bainbridge Battle Point Organic Wheat Whiskey. Owner Keith Barnes works directly with independent farmers to source the grain and is hands-on at every stage of production. Check the distillery’s Facebook page for special events, including the annual Whiskies for Wildlife fundraiser and take a tour of the stillhouse during tasting room hours.
Address: 9727 Coppertop Loop NE, Suite 101, Bainbridge Island
Tasting Room Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, October-April, seven days a week May-September
Contact: 206-842-3326, website
Owned and operated by Rodger and Tammy Brown, this small three-year-old distiller in scenic Seabeck specializes in smooth, high-quality bourbon, whiskey, vodka and moonshine. Regulars love the apple pie moonshine, available in several proofs. Want to do-it-yourself? The Browns offer three-hour distilling workshops for up to 10 people. For $100, you will go home with two bottles of spirits and learn about the art and chemistry of mashing, filtering and proofing. You can also purchase a 2-liter cask to age your own whiskey at home.
Address: 7421 Turko Lane NW, Seabeck
Tasting Room Hours: By appointment
To toast in 2017 with a Kitsap Peninsula distillery tasting tour, go to the VKP website for lots of lodging, dining and entertainment options. Cheers!