This brewing and distilling project in Tumwater is really happening, people

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Article via The Olympian
By Rolf Boone

The Tumwater Craft Brewing and Distilling Center, a project planned near Capitol Boulevard, has its first three tenants: Sandstone Distillery of Tenino, Heritage Distilling of Gig Harbor and South Puget Sound Community College, which plans to lease space for its new craft brewing and distilling program.

"This is exactly the kind of space and partnership we were hoping to find for our program,” SPSCC president Timothy Stokes said in a statement.

Clearing and grading work at the site is well under way, although it is not visible from Capitol Boulevard. Instead, the project can be viewed more clearly from Tumwater Valley Drive, which leads motorists to either the golf course or Valley Athletic Center.

The city of Tumwater has issued permits for the site work that’s underway, but hasn’t yet received a site plan from Craft District LLC, or local developers John Peters and Michael Parsons, said Mike Matlock, Tumwater’s community development director.

Once the city has reviewed and signed off on the site plan, the city can begin to issue building permits, Matlock said.

The city likely hasn’t received a site plan because those plans have changed, Peters said Tuesday. Instead of an 18,000-square-foot first-phase project, it is now viewed as multiple buildings, totaling about 40,000 square feet, he said. In addition to Sandstone, Heritage and SPSCC, which plan to occupy the space in the fall of 2018, the group also is in talks with a brewery, cideries, restaurants and others to occupy space, Peters said.

The group also has plans for an amphitheater that will allow people to look out over Tumwater Valley, the Deschutes River and Mount Rainier, Peters said.

“We were always prepared to scale it up,” said Peters about the project.

The three confirmed tenants have the following plans:

  • Sandstone Distillery: The business, which opened in 2014, plans to move its entire operation from Tenino to Tumwater and open in 10,000 square feet, owner John Bourdon said Tuesday. The business will continue to produce vodkas, whiskeys and gins, and has plans to release a special bourbon when the doors open in fall 2018. The production centerpiece of the new location will be a 2,800-gallon copper pot that was built in 1949 to condense milk, he said.
  • South Puget Sound Community College: The college has plans to lease as much as 10,000 square feet for classrooms, labs, small-scale production space, offices and a conference room. The craft brewing and distilling program launches in April, with plans to be in the center by fall. After completing 95 credits in classes such as business, fermentation science, and product development, students will earn an associate in applied science degree. Students also will get hands-on experience.
  • Heritage Distilling of Gig Harbor: Heritage plans to lease more than 11,000 square feet of production and retail space for its whiskeys, vodkas, gins and flavored spirits, such as its Brown Sugar Bourbon, according to a news release. Capacity will be 150,000 proof gallons per year.

Before Bourdon decided to relocate to the distilling center, he had tried to lease space in the existing Olympia brewery buildings after former owner SAB Miller lifted the covenant that prevented anyone from producing alcohol at the location. Despite the lifting of the covenant, Bourdon was unable to find space.

He hopes the distilling center improves the outlook for those old brewery buildings and the people who own them.

“I truly believe that the craft district will light a fire under those owners,” Bourdon said.

Clearing and grading work is under way for the Tumwater Craft Brewing and Distilling Center, which is located between Capitol Boulevard and Tumwater Valley Drive.
Rolf Boone, The Olympian