Part of the issue some people have with non-alcoholic spirits is that we don’t always know how they’re made — though there is an artistry and craft (and science) to the process, just like your favorite boozy spirit. Thankfully, one of the non-alc industry’s best producers is offering a peek into their process by opening a dedicated tasting room and distillery.
Specifically, Wilderton is opening the country’s first exclusively non-alcoholic distillery and tasting room at its home in Hood River, OR. “In the traditional spirits world, I have seen firsthand how a home distillery and tasting room provides a powerful anchor for exploration, innovation, and brand transparency,” says Wilderton CEO & Co-Founder Brad Whiting in a press release. “This is crucial in the non-alcoholic space as we introduce a whole new experience to our guests and elevate the appreciation of our craft process and products with bartenders. Spearheading this milestone and doing so in my hometown of Hood River feels especially sweet.”
The 20 Best Non-Alcoholic Spirits for Dry January and BeyondEach of these bottles offers real taste and mocktail (or even cocktail) versatility
Wilderton’s new distillery will house its distillation and production facility, including a 1,500-gallon stainless vessel for extraction of whole, raw botanicals, and a 1,000-gallon stainless vacuum pot still. Meanwhile, the tasting room will be open daily and feature guided tastings, happy hours and non-alc cocktails. The company will also offer scheduled tours of the facility and a behind-the-scenes look at the distillery’s R&D lab; according to Wilderton, those weekly, reservation-only tours will allow visitors to witness the production process and experience a “sensory journey through the various Wilderton botanicals: citrus, bitter roots, exotic spices, precious woods, and everything in between.”
The tasting room opens on July 1. And even non-booze fans should be intrigued — Wilderton’s won a lot of praise from bartenders (including Jim Meehan, who has a good Nogroni Spagliato variation with Wilderton’s Bittersweet Aparativo here), and the brand’s Earthen release is a spicy and smoky delight that works well as a base for n/a drinks … and, yes, as a modifier in boozy cocktails. Which you’ll have to try at home, as the booze-free variations are the only ones you’ll find at Wilderton’s new tasting space.
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