Big News!

 
SipBestofSpiritsLR

Great News from SIP magazine!

 

We just received word that our coffee liqueur “Drip” won the Best of  Coffee Spirits category and our Vodka won the runner’s up award for the Best of Vodka category.

There is nothing I like better than doing well at blind tasting’s.

Make sure to check out the next issue of Sip NW Magazine for the complete list that includes wine, beer, travel, and of course spirits.

 

 

DRIP – What is that sediment?

Good question!

Knee jerk I guessed it was the simple syrup (pure cane sugar) settling out and floating to the bottom…but I was wrong.

I turns out that the sediment that builds at the bottom of the bottle is coffee sediment.

At Rain City Spirits we are very careful when we filter because a lot of those great flavors are coffee oils that can be easily caught up in a filter. To get an amazing coffee liqueur you really need those coffee oils and flavor, even if it means a little natural sediment.

The brewing process we use was created to extract as much coffee flavor as possible. That means an unusually long brew time, perfect temperatures, only the best spring water, and most importantly very little filtration.

The good news is that the sediment is a very natural by product of our coffee brewing process and has no affect on the liqueur itself. That said, you do not need to shake the bottle before serving…but you can if you just want to have fun. Like they say though, if you shake it more than 3 times your playing with it.

p.s. Pick up the next issue of SipNW Magazine…Drip may have won a cool award!

 

Thanks again for all of your support…couldn’t do it without you.

 

Cory

 

Where to find Rain City Spirits

Thank you Rain City Spirits fans for all of the support.

Below is a current list of locations were you can find our spirits.

If you do not see your favorite bar, restaurant or retailer on the list please let us know and we will take care of that problem asap.

1111 -Peterson Brothers Tacoma
909 Coffee & Wine Burien
A`S Liquor & Spirits University Plac
A`S Liquor & Spirits Lakewood
A`Town Bistro Anacortes
Admiral Theater Bremerton
Alderbrook Resort Union
Anacortes Liquor & Wine Anacortes
Assagio Seattle
Athenian Seattle
B`S Liquor & Wine Spokane
Back Porch Wine & Spirits Mt. Vernon
Bada Bistro Seattle
Bar N9ne Port Angeles
Bene Pizza Bainbridge
Beverage Depot #4 Kennewick
Beyond The Bottle Puyallup
Bistango Martini Bar Spokane
Boat Shed Restaurant Bremerton
Bob`s Discount Beverages Seattle
Bon Bon Lounge Spokane
Buck`s Cafe Everett
Burien Liquor & Wine Seattle
Camano Plaza Camano Island
Camas Liquor Camas
Can Can Seattle
Capco Beverages Issaquah
Capco Beverages Seattle
Cassoulet Lynden
Cave B Inn Quincy
Cellar Door Port Townsend
Central Food Spokane
Central Market Poulsbo
Chair 9 Glacier
Chantanee Thai Restaurant Bellevue
Charlie`s Bistro Vancouver
Ciao Mambo – Spokane Spokane
Cliff House Bellingham
Clinton Liquor Store Clinton
Columbia Tower Club Seattle
Cost Cutter Foods – Blaine Blaine
Court St. Liquor Store Pasco
Crystal Mountain Crystal Mtn
Dan`s Food Market Leavenworth
Daniel`s Broiler-Bellevue Bellevue
Delicatus Deli Seattle
Dockside Bistro & Winebar Olympia
Downriver Grill Spokane
Downtown Spirits Seattle
Doyle`s Public House Tacoma
Eastgate Liquor Store Bellevue
Emerald City Spirits Seattle
Esquin Seattle
Fall City Bistro Fall City
Fast Eddies Bar & Grill Spokane
Fin`s Bistro Issaquah
Fischiare La Fermata Bremerton
Five North Yakima
Flat Iron Grill Issaquah
Flying Fish Seattle
Frank`s Seattle
G3 Liquors – Olympia Olympia
Gardner`s Olympia
Garlini`s Wenatchee
Good Spirits Spokane Spokane
Green Turtle Gig Harbor
H20 Anacortes
Haggen`s #77 Marysville
Harbor Greens Market Gig Harbor
Harissa Seattle
High Spirits Poulsbo
Hitchcock Bainbridge
Huckelberry`s Natural Mkt. Spokane
Independent Liquor & Wine Seattle
Inn At Ludlow Bay Port Ludlow
Jak`s Grill – W. Seattle Seattle
Jbcls Enterprise Puyallup
Jones Radiator Spokane
Journey`s Pub Walla Walla
Ken`s Market – Greenwood Seattle
Ken`s Market – Queen Anne Seattle
Key Peninsula Liquor Store Lakebay
Kress Supermarket Iga, Llc Seattle
Krush Ultra Lounge & Grill Sequim
Laura`s Bayview Bar & Gril Tacoma
Laurie`s Hoodsport Gift & Hoodsport
Leavenworth Spirits Leavenworth
Liquor Depot Shelton
Liquor Depot – Bellingham Bellingham
Liquor Depot – Shelton Shelton
Liquor Inc. Bonney Lake
Lisa Dupar Catering Redmond
Little Creek Casino Shelton
Local 360 Seattle
Longhouse Market & Deli Sequim
Luc Seattle
Luna Spokane
Magnolia Liquor & Wine Seattle
Market @ Anacortes Anacortes
Massimo Italian Bar & Gril Gig Harbor
Matt`s In The Market Seattle
Maxwell`s Tacoma
Mc Carthy & Schiering Q.A Seattle
Mercato Olympia
Metro Market Uptown Seattle
Metropolitan Market Sp Seattle
Metropolitan Mkt #161 Magn Seattle
Michael`s Seafood & Steakh Port Angeles
Mid Columbia Wine & Spirit Kennewick
Mid Columbia Wine & Spirit Richland
Mill 109 Seabrook
Mill Creek Central Mkt Mill Creek
Mistral Kitchen Seattle
Mo Barbecue Snoqualmie
Momiji Restaurant Seattle
Muckleshoot Smoke Shop Auburn
N.W. Liquor & Wine Bremerton
Next Door (Gastro Pub) Port Angeles
Nooksack Market Center Deming
Northwest Liquor & Wine Seattle
Northwest Liquor & Wine Silverdale
Northwest Vintage #2 Puyallup
Old Town Bistro & Wine Bar Silverdale
One Ten Lounge Port Orchard
Oyster Creek Inn Bow
Pacific Grill Tacoma
Pastiche A Wines Bar Tacoma
Pay-Less Foods Freeland
Pete`s Liquor & Wine Bothell
Pete`s Super Seattle
Pickled Fish Long Beach
Plateau Spirits & Wine Sammamish
Pop`s Liquor Tacoma
Port Angeles Liquor & Wine Port Angeles
Port Gamble General Store Port Gamble
Port Orchard Liquor & Wine Port Orchard
Premium Wine & Liquor Bainbridge
Premium Wine & Spirits Mukilteo
Premium Wine & Spirits Redmond
Press Spokane
Prima Bistro Langley
Pt Liquor Store Lacey
Purple Cafe – Bellevue Bellevue
Purple Cafe And Wine Seatt Seattle
Qfc #50807 University Vill Seattle
Qfc #50872 Holman Rd. Seattle
Qfc #50873 35th Ne Seattle
Rainier Golf & Country Clu Seattle
Rd 68 Liquor Store Pasco
Red Apple Market – Manson Manson
Red Apple Market Hilltop Seattle
Red Apple-Garguiles Bremerton
Redlight Wine Bar Bellingham
Ridge Iga Supermarket Snoqualmie
Robinhood Restaurant & Pub Union
Rock Fish Grill Anacortes
Russell Lowell Catering Bothell
Sapollil Cellars Walla Walla
Scratch Spokane
Sedro Woolley Liquor Store Sedro Woolley
Serafina Seattle
Seven Cedars Casino Sequim
Shoreline Central Market Seattle
Shultzy`s Sausage Seattle
Sirens Port Townsend
Sirens Port Townsend
Snoqualmie Tobacco Co. & Snoqualmie
Snoqualmie Valley Liquor Fall City
South Park Rexall Pharmacy Port Orchard
Star Store Langley
Steelhead Diner Seattle
Stopsky`s Deli Mercer Island
Swinomish Northern Lights Anacortes
Tacoma City Grocery Tacoma
Taste At S.A.M. Seattle
Ten Mercer Seattle
The Blue Glass Seattle
The Brown Lantern Anacortes
The Copper Coin Seattle
The Edison Tavern Edison
The Market Blaine
The Market At Lakeway Bellingham
The Pike Pub And Brewery Seattle
The Red Papaya Seattle
The Roaming Radish Freeland
The Sapphire Lounge Spokane
The Scotch And Vine Des Moines
The Steam Plant Grill Spokane
Thriftway Matthews Bellevue
Thriftway Morgan Seattle
Thriftway Stadium Tacoma
Thriftway Village Market Seattle
Tilth Seattle
Tin Room Burien
Tonicx Spokane
Top Foods #29 Olympia Olympia
Top Foods #67 Woodinville Woodinville
Tosoni`s Bellevue
Total Wines & More Bellevu Bellevue
Total Wines & More Spokane Spokane
Total Wines & More Tukwila Tukwila
Toulouse Petite Kitchen & Seattle
Towne Center Hardware Lake Forest Pk
Tubb`s Whiskey Bar Bellingham
Tumwater Liquor & Wine Tumwater
Tuscany Restaurant Prosser
Union Square Deli Union
University Catering Seattle
Vashon Liquor Store #698 Vashon
Virginia Inn Seattle
Visconti`s Ristorante Leavenworth
Vito`s Seattle
Wasabi Bistro ~ Seattle Seattle
White Center Liquor Store Seattle
White River Amphitheatre Auburn
Whole Foods Vancouver Vancouver
Whole Foods-Bellevue Bellevue
Whole Foods-Seattle Seattle
Wild Ginger – Seattle Seattle
Wildfin American Grill Issaquah
Wildfin American Grill #2 Renton
Wine World Spirits Seattle
Wray`s Chalet Yakima
Yelm Liquor & Beverage Yelm

Craft Spirits…Really?

True craftsman…not tech money hobbyists.

Now that us Washingtonians have been exposed to the myriad of new spirits, I feel compelled to speak on an unfortunate trend that I am seeing.

Being a Craft Distillery myself, I get excited when I see a new “Craft Spirit” in a bar or store. It is great to see these new unique brands, and like most I want to know more about these unknown spirits. What’s their story, how do they make it, what makes it special?

Unfortunately what I am finding is that most of these new brands are simply using “Craft” as a marketing tool. I actually found a rather pricey Rye Whiskey from California that was actually made in Canada.  Unless you were diligent enough to read the fine print on the back label you would have guessed it was hand made down in California, according to an old family recipe.

If you’re not even interested in making your own spirits why bother? Seriously.

When I think of Craft Spirits I think of a artisans with a passion for their trade. People that are striving to create the best spirits possible. Not just slapping fancy boxes and labels on someone else’s booze to make a buck.

Does this mean I think a distillery should grow their own grain, harvest it, malt it, make their own labels, etc… of course not.  But it is mind boggling that someone wouldn’t want to take the time to develop their own recipe, perfect their fermentation techniques and then manipulate those alcohols into something amazing through the distillation process. If you can’t get passionate about any one of those processes then this really is not the “Craft” for you.

And that is where I take offense to some of the brands that I am seeing now. They market themselves as craft, boutique, hand crafted, etc., but when you do a bit of research it becomes clear that they are just using that term to fool people and capitalize on our desires to support the craft movements. I’m not a big fan of people like that.

But in the end it is up to all of us to do our homework or keep each other informed.

For me, I think of Distilleries like restaurants; if you can’t find the chef in the kitchen very often and when you do he doesn’t know shit about cooking…you may want to pass on the food. Same goes for distilleries. If the owner/distiller is never around or doesn’t seem to know anything about the their trade…don’t drink their booze. Hell, good chance it’s not theirs anyways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington Liquor Prices

As with most industries there are always clear differences between the big corporate companies and the small family businesses. Personally I see advantages and positives for both forms of business, but that said this blog is about liquor and distilling, and in that regard I truly believe that smaller is better.

With the repeal of prohibition June 1, 2012 ( in Washington), another clear differentiation between the small craft distillery and their bigger brother is becoming more evident…PRICING.

To be clear, I don’t actually hold the large distilleries responsible for this increase, I just believe they have found themselves between a rock and a hard space with these new laws taking affect.

It is there inability to deal with the added costs that make the clearest distinction between them and the craft distillers. These large companies typically have investors/boards to answer to, and can only absorb so much added cost in their profit margins before people start getting upset. The fact is that they are just big, with tons of overhead and costs that in the end don’t real add anything to the actual products you enjoy.

More reasons why local craft distilleries are better:  most of the smaller local distilleries have very little overhead and can afford to incur most of these added taxes with out raising the price. We also have a clear advantage with the ability to self distribute our products. Those two factors alone greatly impact the price you see on the retail shelves.Most of these large distilleries are also out of state and use major distribution companies to bring in their products to our shelves. These distribution companies offer them a great service but that great service has a pretty good price as well. Especially with the added shortfall fee the state will be dealing out here in the near future.

Now you have to choose between a great hand crafted Vodka, that uses local ingredients and gives back to your community for $26.95…or a bottle of “premium” imported Vodka for $35.95.

Personally it’s like choosing between a great hand crafted cheese from Mt. Townsend’s Creamery for $12.00…or a block of “premium” Sargento cheese for $21.00. That’s just me though.

 

Why Craft Distillers are Better than the Big Guys

Russian Standard Vodka - St. Petersburg, Russia

Obviously this depends on many personal things that will vary depending on your tastes and preferences. That said I am going to lay out the case why bigger is not better.

It may seem that these large producers have created the best and cleanest Vodkas, BUT the reality is that we have just become so accustom to what they produce that we no longer know what quality Vodka tastes like.

Massive Vodka distilleries churn out what is literally just pure Ethanol, by taking fermentable materials and then processing and distilling it in massive quantities until it is just pure alcohol. To me it is like putting organic vegetables through a process to take out all flavor, vitamins, minerals and color, and then put back what I think will sell the best. And what has sold the best for the last 20+ years is a hidden and flavorless spirit.

When you work with such volume and you are stripping out every element of your grain, the quality and source of your grain are no longer a concern. The best case scenario is that these Vodka plants are just using inferior grains, but trust me I have heard worse.

The factories are also typically automated and run off of numbers. Craft Distillers utilize taste, sight, and aroma to guide them. The human palate is an amazing device, and I trust it far more than any automated touch screen control system.

The only uniqueness in the Vodka’s created on these large scales is unfortunately what they put back into the Vodka. Distilleries are allowed to add citric acid and sugar into their Vodka (up to a certain percentage) without mentioning it anywhere on the label. So they use labs to create special blends and filtering processes that will add back some character, even if it is fake.

Personally I would prefer to drink a small, handcrafted Vodka created using amazing local grains, and then distilled in such a way that trace hints of the grain are still noticeable…or as winemakers call it “terroir”. Why go through so much trouble to cover up an amazing and local product.

p.s. The Rain City Still could fit through that small red door in the bottom left part of the Russian Standard Distillery.

What is Craft Distilling?

If you have been paying attention to the craft distillery movement you must have wondered at least once…what is a “craft distillery”? Is it just smaller producers, does it have to be from here, can they produce whatever they want, is it simply marketing…I wonder?

Honestly, there are a lot of valid questions regarding craft distilling and it will take a few posts to even begin to cover them all.

But, I will start with what it means to us here at Rain City Spirits. For us craft distilling means going back to our roots and creating products like they did in the past, when you utilized the best ingredients available locally and put a lot of hard work and energy into making it the best you could. To us that is inspiring, especially when you are lucky enough to have the best water and grains available anywhere.

That is the framework for Rain City Spirits and the guideline for how we go about producing world class spirits. Does that belief instantly qualify us to be considered as a craft distillery…nope. There are actually rules and guidelines laid out by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. Are craft distilleries by nature automatically better than the larger producers…depends.

My upcoming blog posts will continue to cover the Craft Distilling industry as well as things I have learned along the way. By no means would I consider myself an expert on this topic but I do have an immense passion for it and have learned some pretty cool things that I would love to share.

If you have ideas or things you would like to have me talk about just send me an e-mail (cory@drinkraincity.com)

Thanks