Sample local spirits at Snohomish distillery festival

  • By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, January 29, 2013 4:46pm
  • Life

The love of all things local now extends to liquor.

Want local vodka? No problem.

Gin, whiskey, rum? You can find all of those and more at craft distilleries within a short drive.

Fans of craft spirits can taste a variety of them Friday and Saturday at the Snohomish on the Rocks Distillery Festival.

The festival in Snohomish will feature at least 20 distilleries, all showing off their creations. Visitors will get tickets to sample five spirits and talk to the creators.

Additionally, each distillery will offer a signature drink using one of their alcohols, for an additional fee. The drinks will be made by professional bartenders.

The event is a chance for distillers to take advantage of the momentum that has been building for craft distilleries, said Carolyn Eslick, the executive director for the event.

This is the second time the event has been held. The first, in April, was so popular that they have added additional tasting sessions and moved it to a larger venue. This year, the festival is at the Snohomish Events Center.

Also for the first time, thanks to a recent change in the law, distillers will be able to offer bottles of their spirits for sale at the event, Eslick said.

Ryan Hembree of Skip Rock Distillers in Snohomish will be at the event. “It’s a great opportunity to connect with local spirits customers and enthusiasts” who value hand-crafted local products, he said.

Hembree, who is the owner, distiller and self-described tank-washer at Skip Rock, said that “as a Snohomish businessperson, it’s great to see so many people come to town.”

Eslick and Hembree both said the event has benefited from the “buy local” movement. Fans of buying local will appreciate that many of the ingredients are from nearby. Skip Rock even makes Nocino, a walnut liqueur, which uses walnuts mostly from Hembree’s back yard. The Nocino will be available to sample at the festival.

A light dinner, catered by 907 Grill &Lounge and The Mobile Lunchbox, is included in the admission and other caterers will offer food for sale. There will be live music.

For the distillers themselves, the event includes roundtables and workshops to help them learn more about laws and financing options, and to help them run their businesses.

If you go

Tasting sessions: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday and 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets: $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Get tickets online at

Dinner will be served. Signature cocktails will be available for an additional fee. Bottles of spirits from the distilleries will be available for sale.

Participating distilleries

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