Capitol Hill’s not just getting a couple distilleries this summer — it’s getting an entire craft spirits community. CHS has learned details of Black Label Spirits, a third craft distillery being planned for the Pike/Pine area. Owner Cory Duffy tells us he is targeting an early summer opening for a distillery and tasting room in the converted warehouse that is also home to a capoeira studio and the 5-month-old Cork House:
We are a very small distillery and will be focusing on local ingredients and hand crafted batches of Vodka and Apple Brandies. We will have a small tasting room at the distillery and will offer tours anytime.
By summer, the Hill should also be enjoying locally crafted gin at East Pike’s Sun Liquor Distillery — slated to possibly open this coming weekend — and more local spirits from Oola Distillery at 14th and Union. UPDATE: Seattle Met says March 4th for Sun Liquor Distillery.
Duffy says to expect community, not competition with this crowd of newcomers. “You get into because it’s a passion, not because you are going to make a lot of money,” Duffy said. “You’re all learning together, trying to put Seattle on the map.”
This is Duffy’s first commercial distillery, of course, as a wave of new businesses emerge in the city to take advantage of liberalized state laws around small batch production of alcohol. But navigating the relatively uncharted waters of the new craft distillery rules won’t be his rookie project. Duffy was a partner behind the Sip wine bars in Seattle and Issaquah and is a food and drink industry veteran. In fact, when CHS talked with him, Duffy was still tending bar to help pay the bills for his solo project. “It’s all just me,” Duffy said.
As for the location, Black Label will put the small in small batch. The space being built out is only going to be 600 square feet but will fit two stills and a tasting room. For one, renting in the building is subject to a demolition clause, Duffy said, as redevelopment is always looming in the background for Pike/Pine’s last-standing old buildings. The small space will also mean the emphasis will be on the high quality local spirits and will focus on things like vodkas and a unique swipe at creating a local pisco while the brandies have time to age. Duffy said he hopes to bring in food and bites from his friends in the restaurant business but is planning to keep the infrastructure at Black Label dedicated to fine drink.
“It’s going to be an eclectic, fun little tasting room” Duffy said. “Expect a very hand’s-on, intimate experience. It will be a real learning experience.”
You can keep track of the distillery’s progress on the Black Label Facebook page.