The Whidbey Island Distillery, owned by Steve and Bev Heising, is now in its fourth year of operation. What began as a fun activity for former engineer, Steve, has evolved into the production of award-winning berry liqueurs.
Their most recent additions were a Raspberry Liqueur in 2012, followed by a Blackberry Liqueur in 2013. Their signature Loganberry Liqueur was a awarded a Gold Medal and a 94 “Exceptional” rating by the Beverage Tasting Institute in 2013. A detailed review is at the Beverage Tasting institute website: http://www.tastings.com/scout_spirits.lasso?id=203507
All three of these liqueurs are now available at the tasting room on Craw Road in Langley.
Three years into retirement, Steve decided he wanted to start a business, and it was important to him that he produced a tangible product.
After many discussions, Beverly notes, “We came up with this crazy idea to start a distillery; the laws just changed in Washington to allow craft distilleries. This license requires that you use 51% or more Washington Grown products,” and Steve proudly adds, “We have managed to use close to 90% Washington products in our Loganberry liqueur.”
The Heisings found an ideal 9-acre property in Langley with several out buildings that are being restored one at a time, that is just what they needed for a home and for the distillery, and it provides good highway access and a unique and beautiful setting.
Whidbey Island Distillery is also a family business. The Heisings were able to complete the licensing, formulate recipes, market the product, and handle “the incredible amount of paper work,” while son Jim designed the Whidbey Island Distillery website, the labels, branding and overall all design aspects of the business.
Steve dove into his new professional identity with enthusiasm and a true desire to create a unique product. With the combination of experience and talents in the Heising family, they were able to produce a viable commercial product. Steve admits that he’s had a great time designing and building new distillation technology. He invented a fully automated continuous still, which he has named the “Heising 330”, in honor of the date and afternoon - March 30th 2011 at 3:30 – when the still produced its first drop at 190 proof. This unique still is able to run for days at a time, unattended and can even turn itself on and off.
Steve Heising is hard at work developing and distilling their first whiskey. He just finished the Heising 510 Distillery, and the Heisings plan to begin selling “Whidskey” (a copywritten name), which they believe is destined to start a new Whidbey Island tradition.
The Whidbey Island Distillery at 3466 Craw Road in Langley is open for distillery tours and free tastings on Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, and by appointment by calling 360-321-4715, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the website at www.whidbeydistillery.com.