Wildwood distiller for John Howie restaurant in Bothell earns certificate

Distiller Erik Liedholm, left, and Chef John Howie, right, are opening a restaurant/brewery and a distillery this September in The Village at Beardslee Crossing. - COURTESY OF ANGIE NORWOOD BROWNE
Distiller Erik Liedholm, left, and Chef John Howie, right, are opening a restaurant/brewery and a distillery this September in The Village at Beardslee Crossing.

Erik Liedholm, distiller and owner of Wildwood Spirits Co., received a “certificate in distilling” through the Institute of Brewing & Distilling last week. After one year of production, Liedholm will be an officially certified master distiller. Liedholm is scheduled to open Wildwood Spirits Co. with Chef John Howie in November 2014 in Bothell.

“By taking the educational route and focusing on the analytics of production, I believe it will help us as a company, as well as me personally, to learn about the nuances of the process,” Liedholm said.

The Institute of Brewing & Distilling is the only organization certifying brewers and distillers across industry. The certification process required Liedholm to travel to the Institute of Brewing & Distilling’s head offices in London this past March. After three days of taking classes and passing two days of exams, Liedholm went on to take and pass his final exam locally in May, with results announced this week.

“I never had a doubt that Erik would pass his exam. Erik’s studies, efforts and passion for wine and spirits, along with his desire to be the best in what ever he does is most impressive,” chef and owner John Howie said. “Erik, congratulations, you've done it again.”

Liedholm and Howie’s Wildwood Spirits Co. embraces a local philosophy, sourcing 90 percent of produce for distilling from Washington state. The first two spirits available are Kur gin and Stark Vatten vodka. Kur is made in the English dry gin style. It is produced with Washington heirloom variety red winter wheat that emphasizes a backbone of classic juniper aromas and flavors, with subtle citrus and surprise local ingredients. Stark Vatten is produced using Washington heirloom variety red winter wheat and pure, filtered water. It results in clean, viscous, oily vodka that displays a definitive classic European style.

Both Kur and Stark Vatten have already received numerous awards from the competitions they have been entered in; the American Distilling Institute’s Annual Judging of Craft American Spirits, American Association of Craft Distiller’s Awards, and the Seattle Gin Society’s Ginvitational.

For more information on Wildwood Spirits Co., visit



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