Yesterday, Sodo Spirits announced the release of their first batch of EvenStar shochu, a Japanese liquor. In so doing, they claimed to be "Seattle's first licensed craft distillery"--a claim that surprised us, because we believed that distinction to belong to Interbay's Sound Spirits, which has boasted of being "Seattle's first distillery since Prohibition."
So which distillery is lying? Neither. Or both. But not one or the other.
"They did indeed get the first license, I believe mid-2009," says Sound Spirits founder Steven Stone (pictured) of his Sodo peers, accurately ascertaining the time of their June licensing. "But, as you can see, they've sat on it until now. I was actually third to be licensed, but first in production. To me and to those I consulted, that was what really counted."
"But, it gets even more interesting," adds Stone. "There was another distillery that started up in 1934. So I've started calling myself the first 'craft' distillery since Prohibition now."