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County's craft alcohol producers get organized

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By Jessi Loerch
Herald Writer
@ExploreNW
Published:
It suddenly seems craft distillers are everywhere. If you enjoy a finely crafted alcoholic drink, you can find pretty much anything in Snohomish County. There's beer and wine, of course, and you can also find vodka, whiskey, gin, liqueurs and more.
A new organization, the Craft Beverage Guild of Snohomish County, wants to bring attention to all the products created here, and with that attention they hope to bring more visitors and more producers to the county. The guild brings together makers of local wine, beer and spirits, more than 30 in all, in an effort to give the whole industry a boost.
The guild is the first in the state to bring alcoholic beverage producers under one umbrella, rather than separating out winemakers, for instance.
"The demographic of consumers is very similar for all three of the types of producers, and since there were around 30, it made more sense to focus on all of them," said Debbie Emge, one of the founders of the guild and economic development manager for the city of Snohomish.
The guild, which uses the moniker Local Liquid Arts, wants the county to be a destination for those interested in local, craft beverages. A few times a year, they will offer tours of the facilities of various guild members. The website also helps people create their own tour of producers.
Ryan Hembree, owner of Skip Rock Distillers in Snohomish, says the guild will work to encourage people to drink local. Many restaurants already carry beverages from the county, but he would like to see even more add them to menus.
The guild will, he said, "continue to raise awareness that we have really quality products being made here in Snohomish County ... It's amazing to have that local support."
Local Liquid Arts Weekend
The distillers guild is planning events May 31 and June 1.
May 31: Four-course meal prepared by chefs around Everett at the Blue Heron Room at the Port of Everett, 6 to 10 p.m. Each course is paired with a wine, beer or spirit of your choice. $75, reservations required.
June 1: From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., take a tour of selected breweries, wineries and distilleries in Snohomish County. $40. From 4 to 8 p.m., the Local Liquid Arts Tasting festival takes place at the Convention Center at Comcast Arena. Members of the guild will be serving their products. $40.
Tickets for all three events are $140.
The headline on this story has been updated to clarify that the guild is for all craft alcohol producers.

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