It's 5 Five is at the top of the list 10 of the most imaginative craft distillers in the U.S.,
according to liquor and travel experts:
It’s 5 Five: This artisan distillery makes moonshine, grappa, apple brandy and rhubarb liqueur in a renovated warehouse in the small town of Cashmere in North Central Washington. The distillery makes all of its products by hand with fruits and grains grown in Washington state. “Their true claim to fame is a gin like no other. Normally the only botanical in gin is juniper berries, but at It’s Five a host of botanicals including hibiscus, coriander, citrus peel, cardamom, and star anise are incorporated to make a full flavored gin you’ll not find anywhere else,” says Washington State travel expert, Heather Larson, who runs the site, Discover Washington State.
According to the American Distilling Institute, craft distilleries are growing at a very fast pace. U.S.-based craft distillers rose from 24 in 2000 to 52 in 2005 and now stand -- or still -- at 234, as of the end of 2011.
Click here to see full article 10 Craft Distillers That Are Raising US Spirits
It's Five Distillery was mentioned in a recent article in the New York Times entitled A Taste of Prohibition as Liquor Stores Go Private, a reporting on the transition from state-only to private liquor sales in Washington State.
"Mr. Levi said he was expecting greater exposure in the private market, especially in light of the so-called locavore movement — eating and drinking products produced close to home — which is very popular in the Pacific Northwest."
"The end of state liquor distribution will also mean that Mr. Levi’s brandy can travel the four blocks or so across Cashmere, directly to Ms. Hoefner’s place. Under the state system, every bottle was shipped to a warehouse in Seattle before going back out to stores or bars, even if the final destination was just down the street."
The decision to purchase this particular still was driven by the fact that there is an abundance of fruit within the State that when utilized properly will make some fantastic and unique distillates. This particular still was chosen because it is specifically designed to retain the aromas and flavors of the product being distilled. The pot, hat, and deflegmator are all made of copper that is hand-hammered. The cooling condenser and waterbath is all stainless steel.
It took 6 months to build and 2 months to be delivered. The still was fired up for the first time on Saturday January 15, 2011. The results were excellent. 60 gallons of pear mash was pumped into the still and 2 hours later 13 gallons of pear brandy was aging in a stainless steel tank. The still is equipped with a clean-in-place system which utilizes boiling water to clean the entire inside of the still. It takes less than 30 seconds for 60 gallons of spent mash to be evacuated from the inside of the pot. The evacuation takes place via a large pump mounted on the still. This process would have taken 9 hours with the original still that was installed at the distillery’s opening in December 2009.
Come and take look at the new still and sample our Chilean style Brandy, Block & Tackle Moonshine and Block & Tackle Sunshine. Both the Block & Tackle products are corn whiskey made with 100% Quincy corn. We will be open at 1:00 pm on Saturday and tasting as always is free.
May 7, 2010 by Yvette Davis in The Wenatchee Business Journal
Liquor is recession proof and it’s profitable, said artisan distiller Colin Levi. Those are two of the reasons he chose to open the new craft distillery, It’s Five, in Cashmere.
He also hopes to get in on the ground floor, ride the craft distillery growth wave, and beat the competition to the top. So far, he’s achieved some success, but when dealing with such a highly regulated industry, it takes time and perseverance to get things done, he said.
Washington state passed a bill in 2008 creating the artisan distillery license, which allows a craft distillery to produce up to 20,000 gallons of its own spirits per year. The distillery may sell its product directly to customers at the licensed premises (for off-premises consumption), and provide samples. In addition, the craft distillery must ensure that at least 50 percent of all raw materials are produced in Washington state. So far, only fourteen distilleries have sprung up statewide. Levi said he looked hard at the numbers before choosing liquor over the comparably easier product of wine.
“There’s about 600 wineries here, and only 14 craft distilleries. It’s probably easier to make wine, but there’s too much competition,” Levi said. “I really felt like I had to choose the right thing in this economy or it would be disastrous.”
He said more distillery competition will probably follow, but he doesn’t foresee the same amount of competitors as there are in the wine industry.
“I’m sure a lot of people will jump on the band wagon, but I don’t see 600 craft distilleries springing up. There are only 300 distillers in America. It’s a totally different process from wine and many don’t want to deal with the tighter regulations,” Levi said.