Sorensen and Brett Carlile founded Woodinville Whiskey in 2010 and released their first five year old whiskey in 2015. In 2016, Woodinville Straight Bourbon won the American Distilling Institute’s Craft Whiskey of the Year award. In 2016, Moët Hennessy, the wine and spirits division of LVMH, acquired the company. In 2020, Woodinville won a double gold medal and Best Straight Bourbon of the Year at the San Francisco International Spirits Competition.
After their takeover, the distillery produces six times as much whisky. “As we grow, we’ll become a bigger player in America, where only a handful of distilleries make most of the bourbon,” says Sorensen.
Grain is shipped from Quincy to the Woodinville Distillery. Whiskey mash is made there and spent grains are shipped to a farm in western Washington to feed dairy cows. “It’s a circular process and a compelling part of the story,” says Tillack.
Unaged whiskey is transported back to Quincy to the new processing building where it is pumped in casks in a 5,000 square foot cask room. Thousands of whiskey casks are then transported to barrelhouses where they are aged for five years. Then the whiskey is bottled.
Heat and cold play a major role in the aging process. The whiskey is heated in spring and summer and pressed into the wood of the casks at 80-100 degrees a day. As temperatures drop, flavors are drawn from the wood and across the cask’s layer of charcoal, resulting in a whiskey that offers hints of vanilla, caramel and oak.