One Eight Distilling is the second distillery to open in Washington, D.C. since prohibition. It happened to open on my birthday, so I thought a little local vodka and whiskey would make for a fun celebration. I wasn’t the only one who had the brilliant idea to check out the distillery that day, and the 2,000 square foot tasting room in NorthEast’s Ivy City neighbourhood was packed!
For now there are only two spirits that can be sampled: the rye-based District Made Vodka and the Rock Creek White Whiskey. We tried both in small One Eight Distilling branded shot glasses while waiting for our tour of the adjoining 7,500 square foot production space to start. Like Green Hat Distillery, One Eight Distilling will produce gin, but the Ivy City Gin won’t be ready for a few more weeks. Eventually, brown liquors (like an aged Bourbon) will also be added to the roster.
Our tour was led by Alex Laufer, one of the co-founder of One Eight Distilling and its head distiller. He repeatedly described his spirits as ““grain to bottle,” pointing out that the grains and malted rye used in the distilling process are all locally sourced. He also explained the legal and local nod behind the distillery’s name: one eight refers to Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution which provided for the establishment of the district as the United States’ capital, among other things. He also elaborated on the production process, talked about the quality of DC water and plans for future spirits. Altogether, the tour lasted perhaps 15 minutes. Alexander (Sandy) Wood, the other co-founder and CEO of One Eight Distilling and Jared Earley, the marketing and events manager for the brand, were also at hand giving tours that day.
You can tour One Eight Distilling (located at 1135 Okie Street, NE) every Saturday between 1 and 4PM. A different food truck will be parked outside the distillery every week as well, starting with Red Hook Lobster Pound on the day that I visited. If you’re really ambitious and haven’t been to Green Hat yet, it’s about a mile away so you might be able to hit both in one afternoon… I’ll definitely be back once they release their gin!