Heritage Distilling Company (HDC™) of Gig Harbor, Washington, provides a unique take on spirits. Enter their beautiful shop and tasting room and you’ll want a guide to this unique distillery even if you are the most knowledgeable connoisseur of the world of spirits.
Heritage Distilling Company, Inc.™ is a Washington State Craft Distillery; that means, by definition, they source more than half of their ingredients locally. They are majority-owned by women and family operated.
The entire process of making spirits by hand is managed on site from the choice of local farm products to the processing. When you visit the tasting room you can look down at the polished stills and watch the work in progress. Better yet, arrange for a tour.
The distillery, located at 3207 57th St Ct NW., is not the easiest to find. Give yourself a little extra time and read the directions on their website. You’ll be greeted warmly when you arrive and led past small private barrels (more on that later) and into the tasting room that features an array of flavored vodkas, gin and whiskey.
On the tour, you’ll see Nonna (Grandmother), the affectionately-named large still from Italy. On another wall are smaller stills. Look closely at the temperature indicators on the mini-stills. The hottest temperature is labeled “Hotter than Hell,” which makes sense given that the stills are made by Hillbilly Stills in Kentucky. These micro-stills are named after the founders’ grandfathers, because they like to tease that Grandpa can get the job done, but when you really need someone to do the dirty work efficiently, you go to Grandma (Nonna), the larger still.
The Heritage Distillery tour is both fun and educational. Distilling is a science, just like wine making and beer brewing. It takes skill and passion to create a notable finished product.
Make Your Own Spirits
Maybe you have a passion for distilling. In the United States, it’s illegal to own your own home still. But HDC has a way around that for you. Through their My Batch™ program, participants can legally and safely participate in crafting their own spirits. They can get up close and personal with those micro-stills and make their own hooch.
Monthly, HDC offers this educational experience where you learn about the distilling process and then bottle the spirits processed that day. Participants can bring home a bottle or even purchase a 2-liter cask to age the spirits at home. The My Batch class includes a tour with the head distiller and a food pairing with several of HDCs products.
Do you love distilled spirits and wish you could age your favorites just like cellared wine? You can with HDC’s Cask Club™ They help you customize your whiskey, aged to the flavor profile you want in your own private 10-liter oak cask. Unlike mass-produced spirits, Cask Club spirits are only ready to bottle when you say it is.
As a novice, I took it all in and then headed for the tasting room. I was impressed with the range of flavored vodkas and tried a couple of them. Imagine… flavors of lavender, huckleberry and even bacon-flavored vodka! I walked out with a beautiful light-lavender colored vodka and vowed to create a recipe featuring the vodka. Should I want to branch out and try other flavors, I can purchase HDC products from some select local stores and from their waterfront tasting room in historic Gig Harbor.
Heritage Distilling Company is a destination distillery. Go for a tasting or host your own special event. It is a must-visit when you spend time in lovely Gig Harbor, Washington. – Story and photos by Elizabeth Rose, RFT Contributor
If You Go
Distillery and Tasting Room
3207 57th St Ct NW
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
Waterfront Tasting Room
3118 Harborview Drive
Gig Harbor, WA 98335