Friday, December 5, 2008

Absinthe Pacifique

Well, our Absinthe Pacifique has been in the tank for about a month now. We have almost 200 liters in the aging tank and we are planning on another 200 liter distillation in the next two weeks. For those of you who are interested, our Absinthe Pacifique has been made in exact accordance with an 1855 French recipe, using only organically-grown botanicals. Much of the Grande wormwood and Roman wormwood used was grown in our own herb garden. We hope to have our label approval within the next few weeks and to begin bottling.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

WSBG Event

We recently had the opportunity to meet with some of the best bartending professionals at the inaugural meeting of the Washington State Bartenders Guild held last Sunday in Seattle. It was a priveledge and an honor to meet so many persons dedicated to the furthering of cocktail culture here in Washington State. We also had a chance to discuss the marketing of our Voyager Single-Batch Distilled Gin with many of those in attendance. I would like to thank Andrew Friedman of Liberty Bar in Seattle, Zane and Anu for their hospitality, and for inviting Pacific Distillery to this important event. For further information regarding the guild go to:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Our first bottling of Voyager Gin

Yesterday we bottled our first batch of Voyager Single-Batch Distilled Gin. In addition to our family helping out we had a few volunteers with the work. The first part of the process was to bring the still strength gin from 156 proof down to the drinking strength of 84 proof. This was done by blending in purified water and testing it for proof.

The next step was to fill the bottles. The newly proofed spirit is now pulled through via a sterile filter into the bottle filler. The picture below shows us filling a test bottle to insure accurate filling of the bottles.

The next step is to actually fill and hand cork the bottles.

The next part of the process is to apply our labels. Here you see my daughter Anastasia applying the labels.

The next step is to seal the bottles and place them into cases.

And here's the finished product. Feel free to go to your local liquor store and ask them to stock our fine Voyager Single-Batch Distilled Gin.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

First Commercial Distillation

Well, last Saturday, September 27, we completed our first run of Voyager Single-Batch Distilled Gin. The still worked marvelously with no flaws. It was a unique experience to taste the varied flavors as they came across. The flavor was nothing short of fantastic. We had a good number of visitors and neighboring area commercial vintners dropping by for a visit We now have about 20 cases worth of uncut gin in storage and plan to make another distillation run in the near future. For those of you in Washington State, please go to your local liquor store and ask the manager to consider stocking our fine gin. Feel free to print the label below to show the manager or your favorite local bar/restaurant that our product does exist, and is available soon. We will have it available for the WSLCB (Washington State Liquor Control Board) to special order it within the next two weeks. Unlike many other states, Washington does not give preference to in-state distillers, brewers, or vintners in bringing in their products to market in their state stores. It appears that we can't even attend a listing meeting until this January. On the other hand, states like Oregon have a much more progressive attitude in helping to promote locally made alcoholic beverages.

Our new label

Here is a copy of our recently TTB approved gin label.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Voyager Single-Batch Distilled Gin

With our Federal and Washington State licensing behind us we have turned our attention to getting TTB (Federal government) formula approval for our Voyager Gin and Pacifique Absinthe. I spoke to our formulation agent this morning and he states that our gin formula is in the final stage of approval and we should have our hard copy by the end of this week. If all goes well we plan on distilling our first batch of gin by the September 27th. The absinthe is going to take a little more work for the approval process. We plan on submitting our absinthe laboratory sample and formula to the TTB next week. Our original aim was to have our gin ready for market by the end of October, but it appears that we are probably looking more towards the end of November.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New happenings

Well, we've been busy as of late harvesting the herbs for our absinthe from our family-operated herb garden. This weekend we've completed harvesting the common wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), the Roman wormwood (Artemisia pontica), and our hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) which is in beautiful bloom. All the herbs are now hanging to dry and season. The wormwoods will hang for a year to be ready for next year's absinthe production, and the hyssop will be used for this year's production.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Federal Permitting

Good news everyone, the TTB has just informed me that our federal "Distilled Spirits Plant" (DSP) has been approved and our permit has been mailed to us a couple of days ago. Next step is waiting for the State of Washington license.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Our still, some tanks, and our new bottle filler.

Well the work keeps moving forward. We've recently taken delivery of our new bottle filling machine, had our State of Washington inspection, and our federal paperwork is in the final waiting stages. Here's a picture of how the distillery is shaping up. We've been in discussion with suppliers from bottle companies, label printers, and a whole lot more. We recently had the news team from NWCN (Northwest Cable News, a Washington, Oregon, and Idaho TV news organization) come by and feature us in one of their newscasts last week. Unfortunately they did not post the video of it on their website.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Thanks to all our volunteers.

I must give a huge "Thank you" to my brother Paul. Paul has donated much of his time and talent in the past few weeks to help bring Pacific Distillery up to speed. His talents as a carpenter, plumber, and all-around worker have endeared him to the distillery. As of today we have added more water outlets, upgraded the electrical, installed our water filtration systems, and have made our upstairs herb storage/office area much more usable. We would also like to thank the volunteers who showed up to help us paint and make the place look more spiffy. A big thanks to Steve, Mike, Noel, and my bother-in-law Bruce. And a thanks to my Mom for the lunches and cleanup/organizing. You guys rock!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Alambic stills

A couple of days ago we finished installing our new hand-made copper alambic (it's also called "alembic") in our distillery. Ours is a 500 liter alambic hand-crafted out of solid copper with brass fittings. Since all of our products will be single-batch, hand-made premium spirits, it only made sense for us to obtain an alambic still that was made with those goals in mind. We've been asked several times why we don't use one of those high-tech modern stills from Germany that look so nice and shiny with stainless steel tubes all over. We have several reasons. One is our approach to spirits making. We are committed to the methods of spirit-making as practised by the craft distilllers of the 19th Century. To this day, fine whiskeys, gins, cognacs and many other fine liquors are manufactured using the same methods, and often the exact same stills that have been in use for well over 100 years. Another reason for choosing a copper alambic is the chemical properties of copper during the process of distillation itself. Copper has excellent heat transfer capabilities, resistance to corrosion from wine being distilled into brandy, and copper helps strip out some of the unwanted flavors that can ruin a liquor. We hope to be able to show off our new copper alambic still to visitors in the near future.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Our new still

Here's a picture of our new handmade, 500 liter copper alembic still. As I type this it is winging its way to our distillery. The still is manufactured by Destillarias Eau de Vie ( of Portugal. My thanks to David and Jose for sending me this picture.

Monday, May 19, 2008

This has nothing to do with the distillery...

...but we wanted to share with all of you.
Our family went to the University District Street Fair yesterday (each year a springtime street fair is held in Seattle's University district). During our visit we went into "Gargoyle." Gargoyle is a shop that specializes in unique fantasy art and such. On display is a show featuring a selection of wonderful drawings and paintings from local Seattle artist Trinity Stone. There was a wonderful absinthe-themed portait based upn a famous Belle Epoque advertising print by Charles Maire. The show runs through this month and we encourage you to visit.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dedication to quality

Well, we've put the knowledge we've accumulated over the years of running our small family herb business to good use. We have begun sampling varieties of botanicals that we will be using in our artisan distilled gin and absinthe. Botanical samplings from around the world have been coming in, that's in addtion to what we've been growing ourselves in our own place. We strongly believe that to make world-class products, you must search the world for the best ingredients. The botanicals in our products will be not only some that we grow ourselves, but will include those from faraway places like Italy, France, Spain, Sri Lanka, Asia and North Africa. Our alcohol will be of the purest USP grade. It wouldn't make much sense to source the best botanicals when you're using inferior spirits now would it? We can't tell you how disappointing it is to sample a new spirit that you have been waiting for only to find that the makers have cut corners in materials to save a few bucks, or they haven't captured the essence of what the spirit should taste like, or the base alcohol isn't recitifed (pure) enough and muddles the flavor of the spirit. Clear, clean, and pure alcohol is essential to making gin and absinthe. We will always source the best materials for our spirits.
On the equipment front we have taken possession of our new mixing and storage vats, imported from Italy. We are still on track to have our still delivered by the first week of June. We've installed the sinks and water piping for the still condensor yesterday.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Well, the paperwork for our surety bond to satisfy the TTB's requirements has just been completed and paid for. More equipment has been coming in. We've purchase a few more hydrometers, alcohol pumps, fire & safety equipment, scales, and more computer stuff. I'm beginning to feel like a kid at Christmas time! I'm about 1/3 of the way through with the paperwork for my TTB permitting. We're aiming for having our paperwork ready for submission on June 1, 2008.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

We have a place!

Our patience has paid off. We will soon be taking possession of our location to build our distillery! We will be in the heart of Woodinville's Wine Country near many of the fabulous wineries. We should be finalizing our lease this week, and taking over our new distillery home by the first of May, 2008. I hope to have some pictures up in the near future. We have also finalized the specifications for our new 500 liter traditional hand-made copper alembic, and will be making the formal order this week. We should have our new alembic still within the month.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I've been interviewed by the paper

I was interviewed by the Everett Herald (of Washington State) reporter Sarah Jackson last Thursday regarding the passage of SB2959 into law here in Washington.
Here's the link:

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Well the equipment is starting to flow in. We have our copper alembic test distiller in house, all the laboratory equipment, and our IRS/TTB certified hydrometers and thermometer delivered. We are still on track to take possession of our facility (hopefully) on April 1st (I hope we can avoid the "April Fools" scenario).

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Pacific Distillery welcome!

Welcome to the blog for Pacific Distillery LLC. We are in the process of opening our micro-distillery in Woodinville, Washington. We plan on making premium gin along with our flagship product, absinthe. We are currently in the process of working out the details of our lease and beginning the process of ordering our "major equipment" per the requirements of the US Government's Alcohol, Tobacco & Tax Trade Bureau. We hope to have our lease in place by the end of February, 2008. Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, we have a splash page for our developing web site: