Bothell’s first distillery is passion play for owners

Tucked away underneath Beardslee Public House in Bothell is the city’s first distillery, which opened its doors for business last Friday.

Triple Threat Erik Leidholm

Tucked away underneath Beardslee Public House in Bothell is the city’s first distillery, which opened its doors for business last Friday.

Wildwood Distillery is a collaborative creation of distiller and co-owner Erik Liedholm, distiller Mike Taib and chef John Howie.

“It’s kind of a passion play for me, for sure,” Liedholm said.

Liedholm has work with Howie for around 14 years since he was hired on at a restaurant as a wine steward.

He said he’s always had a passion for brewing coffee and wine, and distilling was the next logical step.

The Wildwood Distillery includes a small tasting room and wide-open windows to the distillery, where the towering distilleries sit, pumping out spirits.

Wildwood only distills vodka and gin, but eventually hopes to begin producing brown spirits in the future.

“The key is just maintaining the same level of quality as the vodka and the gin,” Howie said.

Taib said the decision to produce the two liquors was as much a decision of preference as business sensibilities.

“Gin is becoming extremely popular, and it’s running out,” he said.

It’s also part of the process.

“To make gin, you first have to make vodka,” Liedholm said.

Bottles sell for nearly $28. All John Howie restaurants and around 80 other suppliers sell the spirits.

Wildwood has already won two awards from the New York World Wine and Spirits and the San Francisco World Spirits competitions, which is no surprise to Howie.

“I knew that (Liedholm) had a passion for the business, and a palate that was pretty much unmatched throughout the country,” he said.

Though the distillery is Bothell’s first, Liedholm said he’s optimistic.

“Breaking new ground is kind of an exciting thing,” he said.

There was a give and take between them Bothell city administrators, he said, but ultimately the city allowed them to open up.

“We’re excited to be in Bothell, and we hope our neighbors in Bothell are equally excited,” he said.

Wildwood Distillery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and is located at 19116 Beardslee Boulevard in Bothell.

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