Ballard's Captive Spirits has been a neighborhood staple since opening its doors four years ago. But as demand for its signature Big Gin has increased to 16 states and nine countries, the company has outgrown its original digs. Now co-owner Ben Capdevielle tells Eater there's a new space in the works, a "big, giant" 2,800-square-foot facility off of Nickerson, on the other side of the Ballard Bridge. It's aiming for a September opening.
Though the new building isn't significantly larger than the original, the 400-square-foot upgrade will allow the maker to fit another still into the line-up, plus a tasting room. Currently, Captive Spirits is producing 7,500 six-bottle cases annually for distribution around the world, and that number will surely rise with the expansion.
The distillery version two is in the area distinguished as Ballard-Interbay, with neighbors like Rooftop Brewing Company and a parkour facility. Co-owner Holly Robinson says she and Capdevielle found the building by chance. "We were at Hilliard's one day, and met Elliot Strong, whose family owns a significant amount of acreage along the shipyard," she says. "They were just storing things there, and we got to talking, and here we are. Well, a year-and-a-half later...."
The openness of this venue was appealing to the pair, who have previously had a "more segmented" space to manage. "We've bootstrapped ourselves until now," Robinson says, "and 'never hurried, always on time' is one of our household slogans."
Robinson says she's excited to finally be open a few days a week with regular hours and have a greater opportunity to connect with the public. Captive Spirits will sell its Big Gin, Bourbon Barreled Big Gin, Peat Barreled Big Gin, and Barrel Reserve Big Gin, as well as the Kina Tonic partnership it makes. Other gin varieties are being considered, with a Sloe Berried Big Gin on the list. There are no plans to expand to other spirits, but big plans to expand the community.
A new liquor law that went into effect last fall will allow more freedom for Washington distilleries, giving them the ability to apply to sell at farmers' markets as well as 12 private event licenses for in-house functions each year. Cocktails are also on the docket.
"Essentially," explains Robinson, "we're now able to serve adulterated spirits on premise, so we're planning to have a cocktail on offer each day we're open, in addition to tastes of our gins." Old laws forced distilleries to submit permit applications every time, plus limited things to invite-only events. Going forward, expect lots of fun happenings at Captive Spirits.
Slated for September, the new facility will be at 4025 13th Ave W, Suite 1138.