Exploring Provenance: Westland Distillery

Westland Distillery takes a bold approach to innovation, while keeping an eye on tradition, as they help write the next chapter of American single malt whiskey.

Nov. 2020Written by Ethan ColchamiroPhotos provided by Westland Distillery

Exterior view of the Westland Distillery sign on the side of their distillery
Trees extending up to a rocky cliff edge on the coastline
Two friends sharing whiskey near a campfire in a forest on the ocean coast
A man extracts whiskey from a cask and transfers it into a glass bottle
Close up of two hands holding barley grains out in a field
A man in the distance walks between two rows of stacked whiskey barrels in a rackhouse
Bottles of Westland Sherry Wood, American Oak and Peated whiskies on a bed of sawdust
Bottle of Westland Outpost Range Garryana Whiskey on a table beside camping gear

Located in the SoDo neighborhood of Seattle, WA, Westland Distillery was founded in 2010 and acquired by Rémy Cointreau in 2017.

Renowned for its pristine water sources, the Pacific Northwest is ideally suited for the production of single-malt whiskey. The humid environment is also optimal for the maturation process.

A commitment to sustainability is a key element of Westland’s philosophical approach to their craft and their business model. While the distillery takes full advantage of the rich natural resources the region provides, Westland also honors the land and heritage of the Pacific Northwest with their Garry Oak Restoration project . By planting over 260 tree saplings to a Garry Oak savanna near Tacoma, WA, Westland has planted three acres of what will be a 10-acre nature preserve.

Matt Hoffmann is the co-founder and Master Distiller at Westland Distillery. In 2018, Hoffmann was named American Master Distiller of the Year by Icons of Whiskey, who also awarded Westland the American Single Malt of the Year in the same show.

Inspired by the rich traditions of the Pacific Northwest’s dynamic beer culture, Westland’s use of roasted malts evokes a spectrum of flavors not typically utilized in single-malt production. Their five-malt barley bill is a signature recipe found in each of their core expressions. More than 80% of this barley is grown in Washington state.

Oak quality is held in the highest esteem within Westland’s distilling philosophy. They look to the standards winemakers and other spirit creators use in utilizing only the highest-quality oak. They employ a variety of oak, but primarily rely on slow-growth, air-dried Virgin oak, bringing a sweetness and approachability to their whiskeys.

The three expressions in Westland’s core range of American Single Malt Whiskies are made from 100 percent malted barley, fermented with their unique Belgian Saison brewer’s yeast and matured in a variety of cask types. All three elements represent the sum of the intention and vision behind Westland’s distillation philosophy.

Westland’s Outpost Range has its latest release this November with Garryana. With this series of limited-edition bottlings, Westland explores how the unique species of native oak, Quercus garryana, influences their distinctive house style. This fifth edition has a higher percentage of Garry Oak Casks in the blend than any other edition.

In the heart of the Pacific Northwest, a region known for its lush, diverse landscape and unique microclimate, Westland Distillery is crafting a collection of single malt whiskeys utilizing the many benefits of the region.

Based out of Seattle, Washington, Westland Distillery takes a deliberate, thoughtful approach to innovation, while keeping an eye on tradition. Situated in the heart of one of the best barley-growing regions in the world, Westland’s high-provenance whiskeys takes full advantage of the geographical intricacies of the Pacific Northwest territories, from the pristine water sources, essential for fine whiskey distilling, to the complex and aromatic malted barley used.

Come with us, as we take an in-depth look at Westland’s distinctive process of creating single malt whiskeys as they apply innovative, progressive techniques to traditional distillation methods.

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