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Get certified in spirit-making in Tumwater's Craft District

It's home to a hands-on educational experience for the winemakers, brewers and distillers of tomorrow. Sponsored by Experience Olympia & Beyond.

TUMWATER, Wash. — The city of Tumwater is the newest location for the award-winning Heritage Distilling Company.

But this isn't just a one-and-done deal. It's a sign of things to come. 

Tumwater is redeveloping the area around the distillery and tasting room as part of its Craft District

New nature trails, businesses and an amphitheater are just a few of the plans. 

And it's also home to a first-of-its-kind program in the nation.

It's a brewing and distilling training center, a unique partnership between South Sound Community College, the City of Tumwater and Heritage. 

"It's a big deal. The college program is really the only like that in the country. There are brewing programs or distilling programs, but to have something that teaches all three of those beverage arts really doesn't exist anywhere else in the country," shared John Doan, Tumwater's City Administrator. 

"We share space, we share equipment and we share 'know-how', so they can be successful and start their own beer brands," explained Justin Stiefel, the co-founder of Heritage Distilling. 

But it's also about shoring up all aspects of Washington's growing industry. 

"We have 1,000 wineries, 500 breweries in Washington, 100 distilleries; and yet, when a major piece of equipment breaks, we often have to fly in people from Florida to come fix those pieces of equipment," said Stiefel.

This public-private partnership is a part of Tumwater's reimagining of its possibilities. And to do that, they drew inspiration from their past. 

For more than a century, Olympia Brewing operated out of Tumwater, until it shut down in 2003. 

Currently, it's being restored as part of the city's redevelopment plans. 

Town officials like to say that Tumwater is a small town with a big story to tell. But it's clear when it comes to their craft industry, their story is still unfolding.

"I'm a big believer, you play the cards you are dealt, and what we've been dealt was a legacy of brewing, so let's play that card and see where it takes us," shared Doan.

Sponsored by Experience Olympia & Beyond. KING 5's Evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.

This project is supported by funding awarded by the U.S. Department of Treasury under the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Award as provided by the American Rescue Plan Act. Points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Grant funds are administered by Thurston County.