It’s been more than two years since one of Seattle’s top distilleries — Ballard’s Captive Spirits, known for its sole brand, Big Gin — announced a major expansion across Salmon Bay to Ballard-Interbay, but the facility is tentatively set to open June 28 at 1138 Ewing St., Suite C. In its new home, six-year-old Captive Spirits will have capacity to increase production of its popular gins, including a peat-barreled, a bourbon-barreled, and a London dry version, but most important for local fans is the addition of a tasting room with seasonal cocktails on draft, guest bartenders and business pop-ups, distillery tours, and limited release spirits.
Twenty to 25 people fit comfortably in the space, which has 10 stools around the recycled fiber bar and a reclaimed juniper wood drink rail — a nod to the main ingredient of gin, juniper — sourced via Southern Oregon by Greenhome Solutions, one of the company’s new neighbors. Holly Robinson, who co-owns Captive Spirits with her husband, Ben Capdevielle. says she wanted to venue to be clean, simple, and approachable.
Located near Rooftop Brewing Company in between multiple neighborhoods — Ballard, Fremont, Magnolia, and Queen Anne — and looking into the distillery via large windows, the new tasting room is a way for the company to connect more closely with the community. “I want everyone to feel welcome to come in, I want it to be more of a community space. We’ve been in the neighborhood so long and never able to offer that,” says Robinson. She’s also eager to welcome out-of-towners, since Big Gin’s footprint is pretty wide. “We sell in 30 states and have a lot of folks that come to Seattle and want that immersive experience. [We’re excited to] say yes for a change, ‘Yes, we’d love to have you for a tasting.’”
Capdevielle, whose background is in beverages at places like King’s Hardware, Colin’s Pub, La Isla, and Tom Douglas restaurants, will be behind the bar on a regular basis along with his assistant distiller, Alex Meyers, former bar manager of Essex. They’re starting out with traditional gin drinks before getting more creative; state liquor law prevents a distillery tasting room from serving alcohol from another producer, so Robinson says they’ll complement their one base spirit, gin, with non-alcoholic mixers like bitters, falernum, and oleo saccharum. “We’ll always have the standard gin and tonic, gin and soda, tasting flights, and two tap cocktails that change with our mood,” she promises.
When it first opens, Captive Spirits’ hours will be Thursday to Saturday 1 to 6 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with online booking available for distillery tours.