PROOF Washington Distillers Festival at Fremont Studios on July 7

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Spirit tasting through the state.

Now in its 6th year, PROOF — The Washington Distillers Festival, will return for a one-of-its-kind tasting event on Saturday, July 7th. The event is happening for the fourth year in Seattle’s Fremont Studios.

It seemed fitting that on National Bourbon Day last Thursday, I went to 2bar spirits in Sodo to sample custom crafted cocktails and get the lowdown on this year’s event. With delicious drinks and to-die-for chocolates, it was like a pre-game event to preview the flagship event to come.

Photo by Erin Perkins Photography. 

“The state of Washington is home to some of the fastest-growing craft distilleries in the nation, and we’re excited to have the chance to partner with the Washington Distillers Guild to showcase these incredible craft spirits,” says Dick Stephens, President/CEO of Varsity Communications. “This is a unique opportunity to sample a wide variety of locally made spirits, and celebrate this fast-growing industry in our state.”

It is akin to the farm-to-table movement that organic foods are having right now. Only here, it is about grain-to-glass. PROOF promises to be a ‘spirited’ affair, and here’s what you expect at the event…

Tipples and nibbles

Get your buzz on as you savor some of Washington’s award-winning locally made whiskey, gin, bourbon, vodka and other craft spirits under one roof. There are over 48 local distilleries lined up, that you can sample spirits from. Get the full list of distilleries here.

Local, artisanal pours will be complemented with food by regional chefs and producers. Think artisanal cheese, pork belly baos and dark chocolate truffles. Theo Chocolate, Chiso Sushi are Bluebird Ice Cream will be there, among many others! All the yummy fare can be used as a palate cleanser between spirit tastings. Drink, eat, repeat. What’s not to love?

Photo by Erin Perkins Photography.

Taste and talk

Think of how open we are to new flavors when buying an ice cream. We might be partial to our favorite coconut or coffee, but definitely want a little sampling of the farm-fresh lavender or black sesame. But when it comes to alcohol, there is a tendency to gravitate towards the known, big corporate brands. This event is perfect to get you out of your comfort zone and try new spirits. Be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. Whether you’re a connoisseur or a novice, there is something in it for everyone.

If you’re new to trying distilled spirits—all you need to do is taste, taste, and taste. That’s the first step to broadening your palate. The next step is to have a conversation. As you sample spirits, you can get to know the unique and compelling stories behind them, through the distillers, craftsmen, and women who make them.

Buy local brews

Buying regionally crafted brews is about community, supporting the local economies and is a great alternative to big brand names. Locally grown grains, herbs, and fruits infuse the spirits with flavors unique to the regions that they’re from. If you like what you taste, you can take it home with you! Buy bottles directly from the distillers at their tables and get to know the history and culture behind what you’re buying. If we were to get to the heart of what PROOF stands for, it would be to drink local. Or at least give local spirits a fair chance. While these companies might not have huge ad campaigns, they do pack in a ton of flavor (and passion!) in what they make.

Photo by Erin Perkins Photography.

Get your geek on

The evening comes with a generous helping of science on the side if you’re interested. You can get a lesson or two by local bartenders and expert mixologists on how to mix craft cocktails and setting up your own home bar. Did you know that Freeland Spirits is America’s only women-owned distillery? You can meet these incredible women who run the show and learn what it takes to do it.

Ever wondered what makes a perfect spirit? Want to grow your own garden-to-grass cocktail? Beverage industry stalwarts like Lew Bryson, author of Tasting Whiskey and Tom Johnson of the Aroma Academy, among many others will be there to give some special tips!


  • $ 50 for general admission
  • $ 75 for VIP admission (already sold out!)

You can buy the tickets here

Fremont Studios       |       155 N 35th St, Seattle   |      206-838-9080