New group cheers craft beverage producers
SNOHOMISH COUNTY - Artisanal alcohol producers in Snohomish County recently joined forces to form a guild to promote their products called the Liquid Local Arts.
Craft alcohol producers have been popping up in growing numbers all over the state, and a big cluster of them are right here in Snohomish County, guild president John Bell said.
“The industry here is burgeoning, just like it is for the entire state,” Bell said. “We’ve had some changes in the alcohol law in the years that have opened up opportunities immensely for folks who want to try this as a business.”
To kick start the effort, the group is hosting a three-day libation celebration, naturally called the Liquid Local Arts Weekend, Friday, May 31 through Sunday, June 2. The weekend event in Everett will feature facility tours, a dinner prepared by Everett chefs, beverage pairings from each of the three categories (spirits, beer and wine), and a grand tasting festival will be held on Saturday night. Tickets and more details can be found on the group’s website, www.localliquidarts.com.
The group believes promoting this industry will bring in people from all over the region.
“Local Liquid Arts was formed to promote artisanal beverage producers here and to bring tourism to Snohomish County with the purpose of tasting these beverages and to perhaps spend the night in one of our hotels or motels and spend some money in town,” Bell said.
The city of Snohomish’s economic development manager, Debbie Emge, helped the group get started. She secured some seed money from the city of Everett’s and county’s hotel-motel tax fund.
The city of Snohomish is home to a number of craft wineries, spirit and beer makers.
“It’s all really interactive,” Bell said about the website. “When you go on the website, you can go on your own tour and click on the various dots to find the brewery or winery you want to visit.”
David Hendrickson, owner of Dubindil Winery in Snohomish, hopes the guild will generate a lot of buzz around the industry.
“As a small winery, it’s hard to have the funds to do direct marketing, and the additional support of marketing helps to draw in people in Snohomish County and more outside of it,” Hendrickson said.
The guild does even more than that, Bell said. They also promote the industries that promote them, like restaurants and retail stores, and put them in one place on the website.
“Wines are more like coffee or clothing: it’s less of a beverage and more of a lifestyle,” Hendrickson said. “People are really looking to integrate wineries into their life. This will help cultivate things that people can do to enjoy life a little bit more. They want to enjoy their wine and listen to music or be with friends.”
Bell said part of the group’s promotional ideas will involve events and gatherings.
“It’s a matter of getting the community involved and participating with us,” Bell said. “It’s trying to get people to understand that there is a craft beverage industry in Snohomish County and we’re all available for the public to come see us and enjoy our beverages.”
Another goal of the organization is to simply make sure people in the area know about what’s being produced around them.
“There’s Dry County Distillery (in Marysville) that’s making great spirits and most people don’t even know they exist,” Bell said. “They’re all hand-produced and they have a lot of character and flavor and they’re just great producers.”
There aren’t any big producers of craft beverages in the area, Bell said.
“This is to promote the industry and to make not only Snohomish County residents aware that we exist but draw in people from outside the county and try our liquid art,” Bell said.
In the long-term, Bell said, people can make money in this growing industry if they’re patient, but the small producers are really operating on pure passion.
“It’s for the love of creation,” Bell said. “It’s an art, it’s a consumable art.”
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