We’re at the Sunriver Resort near Bend at the Travel and Words Northwest Travel Writers Conference, sharing stories of the Yakima Valley and the Spirits and Hops Trail. We’re sharing how the Yakima Valley is ‘hop heaven’ since we supply 78% of the hops used by the breweries across the U.S. The LolliHop candies we gave out were a big hit. Likewise we shared tales of our agricultural heritage, wine country and the many festivals that celebrate our cultures. This morning we sponsored the breakfast and had the resort include locally grown food products donated by Chukar Cherries, Tree Top and fresh apples from the Valley.
With 70 writers and bloggers in attendance it’s an important event for us to share the stories of the Yakima Valley and to be a resource for the writers. Definitely our craft beverages are forefront in our message this year. Cheers to all the attendees!
Tieton Cider Works celebrates their grand opening of their cider bar November 1st
Last Saturday, Tieton Cider Works had their grand opening for their new 35,000 square foot production facility and Cider Bar at 619 West J Street. With that celebration another craft beverage operation comes to Yakima. It joins four existing wineries (AntoLin Cellars, Gilbert Cellars, Kana Winery and Lookout Point Winery) and two breweries (Yakima Craft Brewing Company, which has two tap rooms, and Berchman’s Brewing Company, which has begun brewing in West Valley just this week. Though not in Yakima, let’s also give a nod to nearby Bale Breaker Brewery). There’s also three distilleries in Yakima or close by (Swede Hill Distillery, Glacier Basin Distillery and Scenic Acres Orchard) plus the bars, pubs and eateries that offer locally crafted adult beverages. And it doesn’t appear to be ending there. Sources tell me that other breweries and wineries are in the works for Downtown and beyond. That’s great news.
In a way Yakima is coming full circle. It was the birthplace of the modern day microbrewery/pub scene when Bert Grant opened the first post-prohibition microbrewery in 1982. Sadly Grants Brewery Pub closed down some years later and it was not until 2007 that Yakima saw another brewery open when Yakima Craft began operations. It’s only natural that the brewpub scene would come back to Yakima. Our region grows some 75% or more of the hops in America, and much of it is processed in the City of Yakima. Likewise, with the vast quantities of wine grape and fruit production the Yakima Valley it’s fitting that more wineries and distilleries are popping up around town.
These are among the reasons why we created the Spirits and Hops Trail in the summer of 2013. The site celebrates our agricultural heritage through the craft beverages that make Yakima and the Yakima Valley special. Another goal of the Spirits and Hops Trail is to help the craft beverage industry to grow and prosper through marketing and media relations. In the coming months the website and related projects will expand to include additional features about our craft beverages, festivals that celebrate and promote them plus the people behind the scenes making it happen. As always we’ll keep you posted on new developments in the beverage scene in Yakima and beyond.
In the meantime, enjoy this Evening Magazine TV segment on Tieton Cider Works.
Yakima Valley Tourism
Folks are still basking in the glow after what appears to be the most successful Fresh Hop Ale Festival in downtown this past weekend. Unofficial projections place the attendance at nearly 7,000! There was a lot of activity and energy, not to mention perfect weather and a stellar sunset! Congrats to the organizers and volunteers who made it a success.
Now on to more fall fun!
Our friends at Tieton Cider Works are planning a new chapter in their operation by opening a Yakima tasting room. The expanded space will include a Cider Bar complete with 6 taps of their core and seasonal ciders. The official ribbon cutting will take place on location Thursday, October 30th at 3:30pm. Cider and light refreshments will follow in the Cider Bar. Their Grand Opening Celebration is slated for Saturday, Nov 1 from noon to 5 p.m. with cider tastings, facility tours and give-aways. Their new digs are at 619 West J Street, Yakima.
While not a spirit or hop product, the annual wine crush celebrations are an emerging event in the Yakima Valley with dozens of wineries participating. Wine makers and staff will be sharing how wine is made as the grape crush is literally happening. Plus there will be wine discounts, food, harvest dinners, music and more at different wineries. Here’s a link of our member wineries and their activities coming up this week. Also, the Prosser Chamber of Commerce is putting on a Beer and Whiskey Festival Saturday October 11th so check that out too.
There’s lots of other celebrations and events happening this fall in the Yakima Valley to celebrate the season and harvest.
Finally, congratulations to the folks and businesses recognized as part of Sip Northwest magazine’s Best of the Northwest 2014, including Bale Breaker, Tieton Cider Works, Gilbert Cellars and Alexandria Nicole. Special call out to Sharon Campbell of Tieton Cider for being recognized as an cider industry influencer (so true) and Fresh Hop Ale Festival for being the Best Festival in the Northwest (agree).
See you on the Spirits and Hops Trail!
Performance stage at Gilbert’s Hackett Ranch
Soon it’s going to be a trio of adult beverage options at the Hackett Ranch near Wiley City! The tentatively named Wiley City Brewing Company is moving forward with their operation at the the ranch located southwest of Yakima on 2622 Draper Road.
The working fruit orchard is the production facility for Gilbert Cellars and has been in the Gilbert family for generations. With a tasting room downtown, Gilbert recently opened a second tasting room on the ranch and has a number of musical performances slated for the summer. Last year Glacier Basin Distillery opened at the complex, a craft distillery making premium brandies using fruit direct from the ranch. The brewery will be in the same Quonset hut as the Distillery, with an event center located in the middle.
Once opened the facility will surely be a big draw for folks interested in our locally crafted adult beverages. Stay tuned at the Spirits and Hops Trail for more details.
Savannah Tranchell with the Yakima Herald Republic posted a great piece on a new distillery in the Yakima Valley, Swede Hill. Here’s an excerpt:
The word “moonshine” invokes all sorts of images: Backwoods bootleggers hiding stills in the Appalachians and evading law enforcement; homemade stills blowing up in the basement; incorrectly made liquor causing blindness.
But this isn’t a reality TV show, Kevin Milford isn’t some backwoods hick, and Swede Hill Distilling’s Apple Pie Moonshine may be strong enough to make you see double — but everything about this Yakima Valley operation is on the level. Milford and his wife, Pam, are closing in on the end of their first year making and selling liquor commercially, and the two-person operation is entering a new stage of growth.
To read the full story click here. Congrats to Kevin and Pam on your new venture!
For more information on local spirits, breweries and hop lore visit the Spirits and Hops Trail.