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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Walla Walla-based Browne Family Vineyards opening distillery, tasting room in Spokane

Walla Walla-based Browne Family Vineyards is opening a distillery and tasting room in Spokane that will feature its new collection of spirits.

The distillery and tasting room, slated to open Friday in the former Warrior Liquor space at 714 N. Lee St., makes limited-edition whiskey, bourbon and vodka, with bottles priced from $40 to $90.

Browne Family Vineyards owner and Spokane native Andrew Browne was initially interested in opening a brewery in his hometown but decided on a distillery, partly based on industry growth.

“Dry Fly (Distilling) has done a great job in Spokane. We’ve seen the growth of distilleries making really good product, and that got us going,” Browne said.

Browne’s partnership with Kentucky native and master distiller Aaron Kleinhelter was another driving factor for opening the distillery and tasting room, Browne said.

Kleinhelter is the former master distiller of Warrior Liquor, which was purchased by the Browne family in mid-2021. Browne is leasing space and equipment in the more than 6,000-square-foot building previously occupied by Warrior Liquor.

Kleinhelter perfected his distilling skills in the heart of Kentucky’s bourbon country, making small-batch, high-end spirits.

“I value this opportunity to showcase my Kentucky roots and knowledge of spirits to produce some of the best and most unique spirits that the Pacific Northwest has seen,” Kleinhelter said in a statement. “Like whiskey, we will only improve with age.”

The 1,000-square-foot tasting room features large windows that allow patrons to view the distilling process. It will offer visitors a selection of cheese and charcuterie boards and a pairing of Browne Family Spirits with chocolate from Seattle Chocolate Co.

In addition to cocktails, the distillery and tasting room will sell small-batch orange spice, lavender and aromatic bitters made by Kleinhelter.

Browne Family Vineyards operates seven vineyards in the state and tasting rooms in Walla Walla, Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma.

Kleinhelter’s unreleased small-batch recipes made under the Warrior Liquor brand evolved into what would become the initial line of Browne Family Spirits.

Earlier this year, the family-owned and -operated winery launched the lineup, which consists of the Monogram, First Look Reserve and Lab Series collections.

The Monogram collection includes a limited-edition cask strength rye and bourbon aged for four years, in addition to a bourbon aged in French oak cabernet barrels from Browne Family Vineyards.

The First Look Reserve collection features a reserve bourbon, rye whiskey and a single malt, while the Lab Series consists of vanilla bean- and warm spice-flavored bourbons.

“They will never be in a restaurant, grocery store or at a bottle shop – just at our tasting rooms,” Browne said of the collection of spirits.

Browne Family Vineyards may launch a bourbon and rye whiskey specifically for retail sales next year, Browne said.

Browne Family Spirits sources rye, wheat and corn for its spirits from farmers in Colfax and Ritzville.

Once the alcohol is removed from the fermented mash, remaining spent grains are distributed to Spokane farmers to feed their livestock.

Browne Family Vineyards’ distillery and taproom will be open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and stay open until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, according to the company’s website.

“We are so excited to have the public come out and see what we’ve created,” Browne said.