What is a distillery?

I have found that many people don’t know what a distillery is. Many get it confused with a brewery and they think we are going to brew beer. I like beer and have brewed beer, but I would rather drink it than make it. 

A distillery makes hard alcohol like whiskey, gin, vodka, rum, etc. The process of making distilled spirits starts off much of the same as making beer. We start by combining some basic ingredients such as grains, yeast & water. Of course each product’s recipe varies. The grains breakdown and convert the starches to sugars. With the help of the yeast and enzymes the sugar is converted into alcohol. This is where the similarity ends between beer and distilled spirits. Once the yeast and sugar has done their jobs we drain off the spent grains. We take the remaining liquid and pour it into the still. Alcohol’s boiling point is lower than water so it vaporizes first. It is then condensing by cooling the vapor, and collecting the resulting liquid commonly known as alcohol.

I’m sure you can tell by now, I am not the expert distiller. This is so very true, but I’m learning from a great teacher. If you want to learn more, I encourage you to visit our tasting room and plant when we open in the fall of 2014. Dave is a great teacher.

I hope that helps clear up some confusing between a brewery—that makes beer and a distillery—that makes hard alcohol.

Have a wonderful evening,


It’s Official!

Great news! Bad Dog Distillery is approved to operate as a Distilled Spirit Plant. It’s amazing how fast this happened. According to the TTB website the average wait time for a DSP is 120 days. Ours was approved around 42 days. The next step is to get approved by Washington State.

Now that the paperwork is done, it’s crunch time to get the tasting room done. Dave, Mark and Marc along with other friends have been hard at it. The guys decided to use large beams instead of TGI joists (manufactured). So they headed up to our local Oso sawmill and got logs.  Once the structure is up it will be us girls’ turn to finish the décor and painting. This will be the fun part.

Another exciting thing for me is Dave built stairs to what is now my office at the distillery. As I type I’m sitting in my office complete with internet!! Most don’t know that we haven’t been able to get DSL at our house. This is a real treat for me. No more having to cram stuff in on my lunch breaks.

We had one slight set back this week. We settled on a logo, but I found that Bad Dog Bitters has a very similar one.   Alyssa and I both agreed we better change ours. So…back to the drawing board. It’s really not that big of a deal. We haven’t used it in any marketing yet.

Stay tune for our new logo…..

Cheers & blessing,

Shelly, Dave & Hank (aka Bad Dog)

The Walls are Going Up

We are gaining momentum with the distillery.  Last Thursday the TTB requested additional information for our permit.  They wanted more detail on the layout of the interior and another drawing.    I submitted that on Monday and got a phone call yesterday.  I was told our application was going to be forwarded to final approval.  We could potentially have our operation permit in a couple of weeks.

Dave is putting up the walls for the tasting room and the grain loft. I order internet and phone service and should have that by Monday.  I bought a printer last night and will buy an iPad once we get the internet up and running.

Probably the most exciting part of the week is the finalization of our logo.  I posted 3 options on Facebook and got lots of good comments.  We took those comments to create the final logo.  I can’t wait to share it with everyone.  Once I get the distillery’s office fully functional, which should be next week, I will work on an official Bad Dog Distillery’s Facebook page.  And probably should figure out the Twitter thing too….

Dave and I wish all of you a fabulous weekend and thank your for reading Bad Dog’s blog.  Next week I’ll be adding pictures to it.




Oso Mudslide

It’s hard to believe next Tuesday will mark the 1 month anniversary of the Oso landslide. Dave and I were at a distiller’s tasting event called Snohomish on the Rocks that day. I remember when Dave got the phone call from his friend, Guy. We both thought, “A mudslide. It’s happened before up there. No biggy.” After our event Dave called a buddy that lives in Oso and found out it was a very big deal and total devastation. From that point we both went into shock, grief and then how do we help mode.


That Saturday night was the first opportunity to help. Dave got a phone call at 9:30PM from a client asking Dave to come and get his horse because their place was flooding. That seems like a simple enough request, but the client lives on the Darrington side. Dave and some friends had to make a 4-hour round trip to get the horse. She is now living with us. The following week Dave knew he needed to do more. He headed up to the Oso fire station dressed in his logging clothes and packing his chainsaw. He was put to work as a sawyer. He cut logs so the excavators could pick them up and move them. Homes were buried under these muddy log piles. The work was slow going. They needed more heavy equipment. By Thursday of that week Dave told me that he had to get a machine up there. He’s an operator, he can do more. He called a rental company and got an excavator dropped off at the site by either Friday or Monday—by now the days have become a blur. The rental fee is $2,000 a week out of our pocket. He spent the next couple of weeks operating the track hoe and working along with the FEMA group, which included his cousin Fred. Who would imaging that Freddy, a Seattle Firefighter would be working in a debris field with his cousin in Oso/Darrington.


While Dave was working in the debris field I was helping organize a donation drive at AMT where I work. A co-worker had connections with the media and AMT became a donation drop off point. The donation response was overwhelming to say the least. We were so fortunate that the distillery was still empty. We took all the supplies for the worker to the distillery. We organized everything on pallets. It became a staging area to replenish supplies for the people working in the debris field. This kept me busy for 14 days straight.


It’s been 3 weeks now. Dave and I are both getting back to our normal routine. Tuesday was his last day on the site. It’s time to focus on the distillery again. The Monday after the slide I submitted our paperwork for the Distilled Spirit Plant permit to operate. This was a huge accomplishment. We also opened a bank account at Coastal Community bank. I would say this completes phase 1.


Next on our list is Dave has to get the plant set up. We have about 3 months before we could potentially have our TTB inspection. I will be working on our brand strategy and labels. After that we will work at creating a website and social media pages. So stay tune for our new logo….