Craft distilling as an enterprise is exploding, with new distilleries popping up seemingly every week. But all craft distilleries do not operate in the same way, and the term “craft distilling” is not as strictly defined as consumers might believe.
Consider the following example:
Distiller A purchases grain neutral spirits from a multi-billion dollar commodity vendor, runs it through a charcoal filter, then bottles it and calls it “craft vodka.” Meanwhile, Distiller B sources wheat from a local farm, grinds it, mashes it, ferments it, distills it several times, filters and bottles it, yet still must use the same term to describe his product: “craft vodka.”
To be certain, the process and expense of making these two products are vastly dissimilar, as is the end result. But this nuance often gets lost in the marketplace for all but the most discerning customers.
We at Chuckanut Bay Distillery think that craft distilling is something more than just a marketing exercise. Stated unequivocally: we do not work with industrially purchased grain neutral spirits for any of our products – period. Nor do we purchase already-aged whiskey or bourbon from elsewhere to bottle under our brand name as is often the case for other craft distillers. Every spirit we produce begins life as an agricultural product, nearly all of which is grown within 30 miles of our distillery. We pick it up from the farmer, grind and mash it, and we ferment it right here on site. We distill our spirits painstakingly, taking only the hearts and cutting out the heads and tails. There are no shortcuts taken, no technical loopholes exploited. We call our process “slow crafting” to differentiate it from the alternative.
Why do we do it this way? Our accountant will tell you it certainly isn’t the most lucrative way to run a distillery. It’s simple: we love and respect the tradition of this age-old process, and we believe it results in a superior spirit. Every time.
If you share this philosophy, we think you’ll appreciate what we do and how we do it. And most importantly, we think you’ll love our spirit.