Stills in the Hills Homebrewed Hooch in the Age of Prohibiion to Open at White River Valley Museum August 15

Using actual confiscated stills, period alcoholic beverage bottles, signage, newspapers and photographs, the exhibit Stills in the Hills, Homebrewed Hooch in the Age of Prohibition engages the visitor with the reasons why prohibition was enacted, how area residents lived with prohibition, and why the 18th Amendment was ultimately repealed.

The narrative of prohibition includes the unlikely partnership of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the KKK, select Unions, 7th Day Adventists, and the International Workers of the World working to pass a prohibition on selling or manufacturing alcohol in Washington State (1916). However it was not illegal to drink alcohol. So independent entrepreneurs, organized crime, local politicians and police all became players in either providing the public with the alcohol they desired or restricting its sale.

Local stories shown in the exhibit highlight Auburn’s own Matt Starwich, the King County Sheriff who led the County’s Dry Squad, Seattle’s Roy Olmstead, the “Good Bootlegger,” and the tale of political leaders and mafia members who conspired to make Tacoma a “wet city”. The exhibit is divided into scenes such as a local woman’s fight for Prohibition, closing of Auburn’s saloons, regional bootlegging and enforcement efforts—all to the sounds of 1920s music.

Stills in the Hills is open August 15 through November 4, 2012 and is sponsored in part by Heritage Distilling Company, Inc. of Gig Harbor.

“Heritage Distilling Company is proud to be a sponsor of this exhibit,” said Jennifer Stiefel, President of Heritage Distilling Company. Jennifer added, “At Heritage Distilling we will soon be offering new and unique programs for individuals to legally come in and be directly involved in the process of making and aging their own customized distilled spirits, starting with whiskey, gin and vodka. As during Prohibition, the making of distilled spirits at home is still illegal. However, with our signature “My Batch” and “Cask Club” programs the door is now open for the public to get a first-hand taste of how spirits are made. That is why helping to sponsor this exhibit was an easy choice for HDC.” As one of the first legal craft distilleries to be licensed in the South Sound since Prohibition, HDC blends a mix of offerings for the public that will include a full line of finished spirits products and programs and services for the general public. Using grains grown on family farms, HDC is following the Field to Flask ethos in which it manages all steps of the craft distilling process—from milling the grain, to making its mash, to operating its own stills—all under one roof. The distillery is in the final phases of construction and all federal and state licensing and permits are in place for its operation. The distillery sits in beautiful Gig Harbor, WA, where it will operate its 2,000 liter still system custom made in Italy, complete with a pot still, a 12-plate copper column and a 14-foot condensation tower. The distillery is also available for tours and to rent out for private events. HDC’s My Batch and Cask Club programs, which are patent pending, are the first craft distillery based interactive and customized distilled spirits programs in the country. The grand opening for the distillery is scheduled for Saturday, November 3, 2012. For more information go to www.HeritageDistilling.com and follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.


Prohibition in Washington, a lecture and slide show by guest curator and Green River Community College history professor Mark Thomason. September 20, Museum open house 6 pm, lecture 7 pm, included in regular museum admission.

Hops and Crops Brew Festival, a family friendly festival of craft beers, local music, food, arts and a kids root beer garden at the beautiful historic Mary Olson Farm, September 15, 12 to 6 pm, $15 taster admission, $7 general admission. Heritage Distilling Company, Inc. 3207 57th St Ct NW Gig Harbor, WA 98335 Web: www.HeritageDistilling.com .

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