By Douglas Scott
Many Grays Harbor residents wear our hometown label as a badge of honor. We puff out our chests when we say we are from Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Westport, Elma, Humptulips or any one of the historical towns in Grays Harbor. There is a certain attitude we all carry with us, one that embraces our history and local culture. One local company is bottling up the swagger of Grays Harbor and selling it around the world, with much acclaim.
The Wishkah River Distillery might be relatively new to Grays Harbor, but the impact they are having on the state and the nation is quite impressive. Since 2011, the Wishkah River Distillery has been serving up some of the finest spirits in America. Specializing in honey vodka, gin and whiskey, the Aberdeen based distillery is turning heads with their handcrafted selection.
While many know the Pacific Northwest as a hotbed of microbreweries, Josh Mayr of the Wishkah River Distillery tells us that local distilleries are the best bet when choosing spirits. While prices might be higher than the mainstream brands, the quality of product is worth the extra few dollars.
“When you hand hold the process and taking a great deal of care in the way it is produced you have a much better product at the end of the day,” Josh explains.
Their high quality product has been quietly gaining popularity around the country, taking home National Awards from the American Distillers Institute, missing best in show by just one point for their vodka. Being right on the cusp of being named best craft distilled vodka in the country only makes those who make the spirits at the Wishkah River Distillery work that much harder.
Producing one of the best spirits in America comes with popularity, and the Wishkah Distillery has led to visitors and customers from all over the world. In the summer, the distillery sees almost a thousand worldwide visitors each month. In the last year alone, visitors from numerous countries in South America, Europe and all fifty states in America have purchased goods and taken a tour of the Wishkah River Distillery.
Josh is both the distiller and a partner in the business. He sincerely loves giving tours to visitors. When asked why, he quickly replied, “Being face to face with customers and seeing their reactions to tasting and learning about the process, is my favorite thing to do. I like being the guy who does the tour.”
The hour-long tours are completely hands-on, giving visitors a chance to really feel like they are part of the process. Josh is candid about business during tours, educating guests on not only the process of making their high quality spirits, but also talking about the history of the town and the realities of running a small business. He admits that it is tough to get through to the general public that craft spirits are better than mass produced brands. He admits that he is winning them over with each taste.
During the holidays, the Wishkah River Distillery offers gift baskets that are easy to mix and match. Martin Bruni Liquor handles the nationwide shipping of orders placed over the phone, in person or online.
Add a visit to the Wishkah River Distillery to your list of weekend activities. A stop to the tasting room is the perfect stop to find something to keep you warm over the cold, damp winter months.
The world-class distillery represents a connection to the glory days of the region. With each bottle of whiskey, gin or vodka made, the culture and pride of the community is captured in the taste. Like Grays Harbor, the spirit at the Wishkah River Distillery is strong, bold and beautiful.
2210 Port Industrial Road, Suite A
Aberdeen, WA 98520
Tasting Room Hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Directions and contact information: http://wishkahriver.com/contact_us