Sun Liquor Distillery’s sign may have risen over its 514 East Pike home but much more important machinery is still on a boat somewhere inbound from Scotland.
Michael Klebeck, the man behind the original Sun Liquor down on Summit and a little doughnut operation you also might have heard of, tells CHS that he is excited that his new sign is in place but he’s really looking forward to the arrival of the brass still that was custom made for his new distillery and is being shipped to Seattle — apparently on the slow boat.
“We wanted to be open before Christmas,” Klebeck said. But he said that long process of federal, state and local approvals required to open a distillery and the wait for the custom still will push Sun’s opening to 2011. “We’re aiming for just after the New Year,” Klebeck said. “When you see the light go on, you’ll know it’s almost time.”
We documented Klebeck’s $750,000 quest to open the first *legal* distillery on Capitol Hill since prohibition when we wrote about Sun Liquor’s fourth anniversary back in May. Klebeck said he envisions his 514 East Pike distillery as an extension of Sun Liquor into Pike/Pine with a tasting lounge to showcase the gin that will be manufactured on site
There is a new wave of boutique distilleries planning to open across the city thanks to relaxed licensing rules and a market for local goods. Sun Liquor Distillery won’t be the first in Seattle to get the paperwork in order and the still fired up — that distinction goes to Ballard’s vodka maker, Sound Spirits.
Klebeck probably isn’t impressed. He has said he set out to make gin because it is more complicated and a bigger challenge. Hence the need for thousands of dollars worth of brass sailing its way to our port.
“The still we need is really specialized for the gin,” Klebeck told us in May. “In the heating process, with all the botanicals involved, you can’t have stuff sticking. It’s a lot different than the whiskey or vodka process.”
Klebeck received his state license at the end of September and has applied for a City of Seattle craft distillery license and a restaurant liquor license for the East Pike location.
Meanwhile, another craft distillery being planned for the old Panzanella space on East Union hasn’t taken shape as quickly as expected. Seattle Metropolitan magazine reported that Oola Distillery would be ready to open its tasting room by the end of August. Oo-ps. We wrote about Oola here. Attempts to reach owner Kirby Kallas-Lewis have not been successful.
Thanks to neighbor Chip for the picture and the tip!