Snohomish distillery wins whiskey awards

SNOHOMISH — Skip Rock Distillers earned gold medals last week for two brands of its rye whiskey by the Beverage Testing Institute’s 2014 International Review.

Rock Barrel Proof Rye Whiskey scored 94 points and was rated as ‘exceptional’ by the institute, which is located in Chicago and has been judging alcohol since 1981.

The whiskey tied with the offering from Corsair Distillery, a Tennessee-based business that was named Whiskey Advocate’s 2013 Craft Distillery of the Year.

Skip Rock, which opened 3 1/2 years ago, also took home a gold medal for its Rye Whiskey, 86 Proof, which scored 93 point and an exceptional rating.

A third spirit, Headwaters White Whiskey, scored 91 points and earned a ‘best buy’ rating.

Skip Rock co-founder and head distiller Ryan Hembree said he was humbled that his work has ranked among some of the best whiskeys in the world.

“We beat out a lot of high-quality whiskeys” that have been aged for much longer, said Hembree, who started the company with his wife Julie and some partners.

Skip Rock crafts their whiskeys by grinding the grain, fermenting their mash, doing all their own distilling and barrel aging in their historic downtown Snohomish distillery at 104 Ave. C.

The distillery also announced this week that it is working with Seattle company Community Sourced Capital with the goal of raising $30,000. Skip Rock needs the capital to support growth, buying more oak barrels to make spirts, purchasing a grain mill and planting rye at a Sultan farm.

Hembree said that rye can be difficult at times to buy: “The one way to actually secure enough supply is to grow our own.”

Community Source Capital helps small businesses buy squares for a company — essentially loans for as little as $50 that the distillery intends to repay.

“(It) is a great vehicle for small businesses like ours to gain access to a new fund raising method. We pay the money back and the people get to join us in our whiskey adventures,” said Julie Hembree, in a statement.

The distillery plans to host events for “squareholders,” including having them sign their name on a couple of select barrels that will become a special release just for squareholders.

For information on becoming a squareholder, email Casey Dilloway, casey@communitysourcedcapital.com or visit www.communitysourcedcapital.com.

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