Local distillery 2bar Spirits is known for two things: good classic bourbon and family. Founder Nate Kaiser took the history of his family’s ranch back in Texas and mixed it with classic Seattle style, even down to the branding iron they use for the logo. With everything being locally sourced, made, bottled, you name it - you can count on the quality and sustainability of the bourbon every time.
When Kaiser greeted me with a shot of whiskey at 11 a.m. when I came to see the distillery, I knew we’d get along just fine.
Seattle Refined: When did you know you wanted to start a whiskey distillery?
Nathan Kaiser: It has been a dream for some time. While we opened in 2012, I was thinking about and working on it for two years prior. I was in tech and while I loved the people I worked with, I wasn't that passionate about the products and services. Now whiskey on the other hand has always been something I love and am passionate about. The idea of working with my hands, buying from local farmers, and making something from scratch was a huge driver for me. I arrive every morning at the distillery excited!It has been a dream for some time. While we opened in 2012, I was thinking about and working on it for two years prior. I was in tech and while I loved the people I worked with, I wasn't that passionate about the products and services. Now whiskey on the other hand has always been something I love and am passionate about. The idea of working with my hands, buying from local farmers, and making something from scratch was a huge driver for me. I arrive every morning at the distillery excited!
I love that you guys make Moonshine! Tell us about your bourbon and why you chose to keep it simple with your classic bottles, and why you decided to add moonshine to the list.
Our goal is to be a bourbon distillery. Keeping it simple and being focused is in our DNA. We want to make great bourbon and everyday we focus on that simple goal. Now, that being said it doesn't mean we can't play a bit. 2bar Moonshine is a un-aged corn whiskey that harkens back to my family's 2bar Ranch and is just a lot of fun to make.
How has your family played a role in your business?
It is the reason I do what I do. The name '2bar' pays homage to my family's Texas roots and the namesake ranch, which is still in the family. I also hope to pass on the distillery to my boys as well, though that will obviously be up to them! Along those lines, we buy all our grain from a young farmer in Zillah, near Yakima.
You've seemed to master the balance between your Texan history and your current Seattleite way of life - how has that evolved into what it is now?
We love being in Seattle. The people, the culture and the acceptance of local products is huge. It started with coffee, then wine, beer, and now spirits. Washington state is an amazing place to grow grain and is quite the bread basket for those making spirits and especially whiskey. That balance of working in and utilizing what the northwest has to offer really works well with the history and heritage of the 2bar name and where I come from. My wife is a Seattle native and her family has been here for generations, and 2bar is a combination of my family's background and my wife's deep Seattle roots.
How should one drink your bourbon/do you have a drink of choice? A family Old Fashioned recipe? On the rocks? What do you recommend?
Tough, tough question. I like mine neat or with an ice cube in the summer. Though, that is what is so special about our bourbon - it can be enjoyed in so many ways: neat, on the rocks, in a cocktail, etc. Everybody wins!
What are your tasting hours on the weekend?
We are open 3-6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays! You can sign up for a tasting and tour at https://www.2barspirits.com/visit.
Sidenote: While I wasn’t able to meet Galt the dog, VP of Corporate Morale (the mascot per se of the distillery) he is a fan favorite among all the visitors of 2bar and signing up for a tasting may just include some quality cuddle time if you’re lucky. By the dog that is, not Nathan.