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  • By Marguerite Cleveland. Photos courtesy of

Fall is a Busy Time at Heritage Distilling Company

Fall is a Busy Time at Heritage Distilling Company

Fall is a busy time at the Heritage Distilling Company. Employees are hard at work distilling and bottling 240,000 mini-size bottles of spirits for the 2017 Spirits of Advent Calendar. These “calendars” have become so popular they sell out every year. In order to keep up with the demand, the company is producing 10,000 calendars for 2017.

Each Spirits Advent Calendar includes 24 50-milliliter bottles of HDC spirits, two each of 12 different products. Enjoy the signature Brown Sugar Bourbon, the Elk Rider label rye, vodka, crisp gin, flavored vodkas and many more. Beginning December 1, pop open your calendar for the mini of the day. Each mini has enough spirit in it for two cocktails. The HDC website has all their products listed, and each one has links to cocktail recipes. They also have a YouTube channel with a “Keep it Simple – Cocktail Series,” which has some yummy, easy-to-make cocktails.

“I would say about a third of the people that buy the Advents aren’t actually using them as intended (GASP!). But, I mean, who’s to say the first 24 days of November aren’t every bit as important as the December ones. And then there are the sneaky folks who are breaking open the boxes, pulling out their favorites and using others as holiday hostess gifts and stocking stuffers. Yep, I am always impressed with people’s creativity,” commented Erin Lund, HDC spirits educator.

According to Hannah Hanley, director of strategic development, “This is our third year producing the Spirits Advent Calendar. The idea came from Jennifer Stiefel, HDC’s president, and is the only domestically produced Spirits Advent Calendar on the market and is the most affordable option out there. We started producing the Spirits Advent Calendar at the beginning of August. Initial production, including packing of the calendars, will be done by the end of September. The Spirits Advent Calendar will be available starting October 1 and will be $49 plus tax. These are our top sellers and offer a great variety of our products for guests who have wanted to try something that we make.”

The Spirits Advent Calendars have a huge local following. One loyal Heritage Distilling Company customer, Rachannee Curry, has purchased the calendars for the past two years and is looking forward to this year’s edition. “I love the concept of a present for an adult that is more of an experience than just a thing. This has both. The anticipation of enjoying the fancy treat-cocktail with friends and family, the surprise of ‘What am I going to get?’ and the tangible box with the little doors to open. It is as fun to open as when you were a child. I give one to my sister every year and purchase one for myself so we can try lots of flavors.”

Another product which has proven to be very popular is the Special Forces Bourbon. The HDC motto is: “Every Spirit has a Story,” and this bourbon has a great story. A partnership with the 1st Special Forces Group (it is important to note the product is not endorsed by the U.S. Army and is an off-duty project) and HDC brought about this handcrafted bourbon, which raises money for three charities: 1st Special Forces Group GoldStar Families, Chapter XVI SFA Scholarship Program and the Special Forces Association Chapter XVI. The bourbon sells for $75 a bottle, with $25 per bottle going to these three charities.

“There are an extremely limited number of bottles of Special Forces Bourbon remaining,” said Hanley. We have raised $40,000 for the SF charities so far, and this run will raise an additional $40,000, putting our donation for three years at over $80,000 total when we make the next donation in December 2017.” The company also supports local charities and in 2015 was awarded the Secretary of State’s Corporations of Communities Award.

Heritage Distilling Company is a craft distillery, which means at least half of all the raw materials used to make their product must be grown in Washington state. Scrupps’ farm in Odessa, Washington, is one of the local family farms where HDC purchases raw ingredients for their products. The company likes to say their spirits are field to flask.

The Heritage Distilling Company has two locations in Gig Harbor and one in Eugene, Oregon. “Heritage Distilling Company looks forward to expanding into additional markets within Washington in the next year, and we are proud to support our local communities,” said Hanley.

Heritage Distilling Company can be found at 3207 57th Street Court NW in Gig Harbor. They are open Monday through Wednesday 11am to 5pm, Thursday through Saturday 11am to 6pm and closed Sunday. For more information, call 253.509.0008 or visit

Hot Spiked Apple Cider

Recipe courtesy of Heritage Distilling Company


½ oz. Brown Sugar Bourbon or Brown Sugar Bourbon 103

1 cup of hot apple cider

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise


Place cinnamon stick and star anise in mug. Pour hot cider over spices and mix in the Brown Sugar Bourbon.

This super, simple, hot beverage hits the spot on a cold, wet Pacific Northwest day.

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