Over dinner at my parents for dinner, they introduced me to sipping vinegar. Sipping vinegar. “What in the world?” Vinegar overall is great for your gut and stomach health. Now at this point, I incorporated a little bit of vinegar into my diet by mixing oil and vinegar in salads but not just for sipping. My parents had me try different flavors they had in their cupboard. “Where did you get these? They are great tasting and would be great in salads!” They told me about the Sandstone Distillery in Tenino that makes them. So on a spontaneous Saturday afternoon, we went to the distillery to check it out.
Upon arriving, we were met by their door greeter Barley, a super cute red-furred border collie. Super friendly and always comes out to greet customers. The building was the size of a small warehouse. In the front part of the distillery is the tasting and merch side and the last 5/6 of the building was the distillery. All the vats and different distillery equipment was handcrafted by the owner and their business partner to save on costs. Pretty impressive the ingenuity to get things to work so smoothly. At the very back was a huge cooper condenser originally used for condensing milk and laxities in the early 1970s. This distillery had recycled pieces of the state’s history by using it for their own liquor. Oh yes, lots of different types of liquor. The grains are grown in Centralia, Washington used in the fermentation process. Then all the grains are sent over to the farm next door to feed the neighbors cattle.
Toward the end of the tour, we sampled over ten different liquors they made. As wells as the other flavors in sipping vinegar. The owner’s wife was the one who came up with the idea of sipping vinegar. The company has been around for 5 years and has their first 3-year-old whiskey! The company goes to several of the state and city fairs around. The future of the distillery is coming! By using the huge copper condenser they will be able to produce different types of liquor faster and in larger quantities. Granted they have been distilling their own liquor well before they became official.
Fifteen years ago, the owner was a truck driver. After retiring his son and he sailed to Hawaii and back they didn’t know what to do. So they decided to start a business in distilling their own liquor. Within five years, they have grown and will be needing bigger and better equipment to keep up with demand. I found this story inspiring they continue to do something they are passionate about.
One thing I found super interesting was that they had the original recipe for the Olympia beer. They used this recipe to make their own bourbon.
I am no liquor connoisseur but I have tasted my small sampling of liquor but I have never found a gin I liked. Another thing I didn’t know was gin starts out as vodka and it’s the junipers that had the pine taste. Sandstone‘s gin was hands down the best gin I have had. I am more of a tequila and vodka girl and this gin was really good. I found the whiskey’s great as well and not too much of a burn.
Towards the end of the tasting was feeling pretty relaxed and knew it was time to head on out. I ended up buying a sipping vinegar for cooking with. I used it on some steak I cooked and wow, it tenderized the meat and kept the meat nice and juicy. I will definitely be back to get more vinegar and vodka of some kind. I’m a vodka girl.
My overall experience of the tour was really cool the process is pretty long but I’m sure in time and with more equipment, they will become a bigger distillery. I’m excited to see what other flavors of liquor and vinegar they come up with. If you have a spontaneous day off check out the Sandstone Distillery. Must be twenty-one and older to taste test the liquor. Check out the links to their website for products and tour hours. https://www.sandstonedistillery.com/
Check out their Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/SandstoneDistillery
Keep kicking and smiling!- TJ Banski