New Craft Whiskey Helps Save Salmon

by Courtney Blackann

Whiskey is just plain delicious. But eco-friendly whiskey is even better. For one Seattle distillery, they’re providing two services in one. Saving salmon and making people extremely happy with their 100% malt-based whiskey.

There’s a lot that can go wrong when distilling whiskey. It should be researched plenty in advance before attempting to create it. Seattle-based Copperworks Distilling Co. has done just that. The company is creating a craft whiskey with salmon-safety standards. To earn the label, the company must commit to using less runoff and use herbicides and fertilizers which are safe for the fish.

It is the first time a whiskey receives the stamp of approval. Distilled in Walla Walla, Washington, Jason Parker, Copperworks president, checks the product about every 15 minutes, he says. This is in order to get the taste absolutely perfect.

Because it’s malt, it doesn’t have a corn base, which means it will burn less going down.

“In 100% malted barley whiskey, we’re really trying to feature that grain as a flavor, not just the barrel and not just the alcohol,” Parker said.

And flavor is extremely important to the whiskey founders. So is conservation.

“That’s the type of thing that we want to open our distillery with by focusing on improving soil vitality, the quality of farms, rewarding small farming, and keeping the carbon footprint down from having to ship grains from all around the world,” Parker said.

Tracing Whiskey Grains

Unfortunately, tracking most malt whiskies back to their original grains is impossible. This is something the company hopes to do in the future with many of their whiskies. The Salmon-Safe program is about water quality, officials also said. So being conscious from the grains onward is important.

“Salmon-Safe is substantially about water quality,” said Kevin Scribner, who’s in charge of grower-outreach for Salmon-Safe.

Additionally, over 200 wineries have earned a Salmon-Safe label in addition to 20% of hops field in Washington state.

Basically, if you enjoy whiskey and want to be ecologically responsible, this whiskey is for you.

The Copperworks website cites the founding principles the company was based on.

“Our spirits are distilled in traditional copper stills that were specifically created in Scotland for Copperworks and for the distillation of each individual spirit. We focus on creating distilled spirits that can stand impressively on their own or serve as a delicious base for new and classic cocktails.”

The company further adds:

“Copperworks opened its doors in 2013 offering tastings, tours, and other events focused on enjoying and learning about fine distilled spirits. The company has won numerous local, national and international awards. Copperworks spirits are found on the shelves of bars, restaurants, and retail stores through Washington State.”