Chuckanut Bay Distillery began in 2011, the brainchild of Matt Howell and Kelly Andrews, longtime friends who share a passion for premium distilled spirits and challenging projects.
After identifying a downtown Bellingham location in the alley behind Railroad Avenue, we set about obtaining the necessary federal, state, and local permits, building out the space, and procuring the necessary equipment. Two long years later, in late 2013, we debuted our first spirit, a potato vodka made from Skagit Valley grown Yukon Gold potatoes. We didn’t have an electric grinder at that time, nor could we afford one. So Matt connected a bicycle frame to Kelly’s old apple grinder and proceeded to grind down over 13,000 pounds of potatoes. We’ve since retired the bicycle grinder (much to Matt’s relief), but you can see it if you come take the distillery tour.
Since then, we’ve broadened our spirit selection to include eight additional products, won national and international awards, and enjoyed ourselves immensely throughout the process. In 2017, we purchased an historic 18,000 square foot building in downtown Bellingham on Cornwall Avenue. Our production has resumed in the new space, and the tasting room and retail shop are open for business. Soon we will be opening a cocktail bar to feature our grain-to-glass spirits, as well as a 6,000 square foot event space on the top floor.
We’re proud to count ourselves among the growing number of pioneering Washington craft distilleries. We look forward to continuing to grow Chuckanut Bay Distillery over the coming years, all the while remaining singularly focused on producing the highest quality, slow-crafted spirits available anywhere in the world.
AND JUST TO THINK, IT ALL BEGAN WITH 13,000 POUNDS OF LOCALLY GROWN YUKON GOLD POTATOES AND AN INORDINATE AMOUNT OF TIME ON AN OLD BICYCLE.