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Annette  Bagley | 05/22/2014 | Story Ideas |   

Craft Distillery Boom Hits Bellingham Area

Craft distilleries (or microdistilleries) are a new trend in Washington State, due to recent changes in liquor laws. Local ingredients and local production are central to 3 craft distilleries in Whatcom County.

Bellewood Acres Distillery is county’s largest. The 12,000-square-foot facility is located on a 62-acre farm, at 231 Ten Mile Road in Lynden, known throughout the region for its apple production, especially Honeycrisp, from its 25,000 trees. Apples are the key ingredient in the distillery’s spirits, including vodka, brandy and gin. Owners John and  Dorie Belisle were the first in the state to file a distillery license for production on their own farm. The spacious new facility includes a 250-gallon still for vodka, and another 150-gallon still for the other specialty spirits, as well as room for a bakery, gift shop, deli space, eating area and community room. Visitors are also welcome to tour the orchards, which feature a gorgeous view of Mt. Baker.

In Bellingham, Chuckanut Bay Distillery is located at 1115 Railroad Ave, across the street from Bellingham Farmer’s Market, near Boundary Bay Brewery. Co-owners Matt Howell and Kelly Andrews have installed a 150-gallon pot still to produce vodka and gin from local ingredients. They plan to experiment with a variety of in-season flavors, and the tasting room will provide an opportunity for direct input from customers.

Smaller in scale, but packing a huge punch, Mount Baker Distillery in Bellingham offers 100-proof moonshine whiskey, as well as 80-proof vodka produced in 15-gallon stills made from re-purposed beer kegs. Moonshine is a part of owner Troy Smith’s family heritage, reaching back to just after the Civil War. He honors the memory of his great-great grandfather by calling the product Abe Smith’s Mt. Baker Moonshine. The distillery and tasting room is located at 1305 Fraser Street, Suite D2.

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