If there’s one thing to know about Washington brewers, winemakers, cidermakers and distillers, they all have a love for local in common. But for Nathan Kaiser, owner of 2bar Spirits, he takes it one step further to be sure every single part of his process in making bourbon is 100 percent onsite in his Seattle distillery.
The distillery was founded in 2010, officially opening its doors in the SoDo neighborhood in 2012. Since then, Kaiser has continued to follow his “grain-to-glass” philosophy to a T, using only Washington-grown grain. We recently sat down to chat with Kaiser about 2bar’s start in the Washington bourbon industry, the history behind the distillery’s name and to learn why always using local grain is so important to him.
1) What’s behind the name 2bar?
The name 2bar comes from my family’s ranch in South Texas, the 2bar ranch. For over a century, the 2bar brand has stood for quality, independence and hard work. The ranch has been in the family for five generations and is still in the family today.
2) Why is it so important for 2bar Spirits to use Washington-grown grain?
Local matters in many ways. Sourcing local allows for the uniqueness that is Washington state to be expressed in the bourbon we make. We source our corn and wheat from a single farmer out of Zillah. The best grains are grown locally, so we source locally and make everything ourselves. We control the entire process and work to make the best bourbon in Washington state.
3) What was it like to be the first all-local Seattle bourbon? How has the industry changed since then?
Pretty damn cool. We are the first 100% grain-to-glass bourbon ever made in Seattle, and we take that very seriously. We mill, mash, ferment, distill, age and bottle absolutely every drop of 2bar Bourbon onsite. Since we opened, there has been any number of local distilleries to open. However, we are still the only entirely grain-to-glass bourbon distillery in the city.
4) Tell us a bit more about your moonshine? What’s the family tradition behind it?
The family lore is that the previous generations on the ranch made moonshine from locally grown corn. Sadly, no secret family recipe made it down through the generations. Though, moonshine is still a key part of our product offering and it is made using all Northwest grains.