I heard the stories back east about how Seattle is very environmentally conscious and puts an emphasis on local sustainability. Everything from building development to the local burger joint, there is evidence of local sourcing. Sure, I have seen some of this on the east coast, but nowhere near the amount of zeal with which I have witnessed here. It has been a challenge for me as a bartender here to learn the local beers. I have yet to find a non-local beer on tap at the bars I frequent. But, curiously, there isn’t a focus on local liquor.
I do work for a sustainable company by day, Local 360. Through this, I have tried a lot of local food and beverage. I am not sold on the quality of the liquor. Maybe that is why bars are not carrying a large variety? I know that there may be a sudden shift with bars in the near future to start sourcing locally for liquor, especially due to the change in liquor laws and how distribution will occur. Before the state stores close, expect them to begin decreasing the inventory levels. What does this mean for you? Bars will run out of variety until all kinks are worked out. Of course, this is the worst case scenario. I have seen this transition in other states.
The trend towards local products in the bars is a treat for visitors who can have a unique experience here. I suggest we come up with bar menus to ‘push’ our local brands. A Liquid Vodka Cosmopolitan would be a good start to changing the way we drink. The Lobby Bar has already enacted a plan to start merchandising local liquors on premium shelf space. Don’t be surprised to find your favorite watering holes following suit. Give your local liquors a try. If you don’t like it as is, I am sure your bartender can transform it into a delicious experience.