Bluewater Distillery: Organic Spirits on the Salish Sea
Author: Wade T. Oberlin | Photographer: Jake Campbell
Bluewater Organic Distilling came into being aboard a sailboat in the Pacific Northwest during the Summer of 2007, a private project held between Jessica and John Lundin with little idea of just where their experiments in spirit-distillation would take them.
Bluewater, a bit of terminology inspired by the very act of sailing, continued on land at a fast pace, set up as two burgeoning distilleries in the Port of Everett. What Bluewater resembles now is far beyond the couple’s first forays and early experiments in producing fine spirits. John Lundin now acts as owner, lead distiller and all-around enthusiast of local proprietors that supply to Bluewater with more than warm drink.
“Our spirits are a unique creation founded focused on two strong values, those being sustainability and artisanal distillation,” says John. “By using traditional copper kettles with an open fire and by using products from people we can trust, we forge an incredible smoothness in our spirits. I really believe that we are unmatched in the industry, and our process has spread from distilling to cocktails, to food, to everything that we do. It even inspired our public events.”
Bluewater is now what is called a “destination distillery”, which offers more than just spirits off the shelf. For 19 years now, the Lundin's staff have been focused on distilling spirits, and have only recently enjoyed operating and managing a place to relax, have a date night, enjoy a cocktail or taste fine foods.
“We have a large focus on keeping quality produce on hand, having fresh flavors. It has only been three years since we opened our cocktail bar attachment from our distillery and we are continually focused on using local proprietors, having local sourcing as much as humanly possible.” John motions toward the back of the main bar, “We have developed our own scratch kitchen, everything is made in-house, our ingredients are all of tremendous quality. Sustainability is one of the pillars of Bluewater as a business, and we give something to the customer that they can’t get anywhere else, right here on the Everett coast.”
Locals and Travelers Alike
Located at the Port of Everett at Waterfront Place, Bluewater is firmly established and attracts a devoted following from locals and travelers alike. When John Lundin was asked to speak on his distilleries’ growing popularity for events, it became apparent that many of the activities happened naturally from within Bluewater itself.
“The events that attract people to our business are community events and private events. At Bluewater it’s common to host birthday parties, business functions and other small parties in our side room. With public events like yogamosa and our paddle excursions, well, we tend to host those events because we were already doing them as a staff.”
“Yogamosa for instance, it’s something we created because the staff had a lot of hurt backs after working in our warehouse area. We combined those efforts with our yoga instructor, and it really took off with people in the community. Since then, we have been hosting yoga events inside of Bluewater, and also out on the docks! Of course, when we are finished with yoga it’s time for brunch, mimosas, cocktails.”
Although these public and private events keep Bluewater busy with large groups, the establishment thrives as a popular date spot, running away with the ___ award from Snohomish County. Having such a hot destination at the largest Marina on the West Coast makes their notoriety as a date spot well known, a real travel destination in the Northwest. One other attraction brings people far and wide to see Bluewater...
We Craft More Than Spirits
“That sailboat where we first started our business was eventually sold, and since then Bluewater has continued to grow and thrive at different locations on the Port of Everett,” John reminisces. “This current sailboat construction that I have been working on started in the warehouse, but it has slowly and surely been nearing completion by the docks. People who know Bluewater, especially since the beginning, check in on its progress. It has occupied a lot of my time, but it’s an incredible project. It’s about to hit the water!”
Outside the distillery and past the warehouse itself, a large sailboat, unpainted but with a working engine and electrical systems, sits idle. It really is a small marvel, and upon returning to the restaurant area, John smiles and leaves us to sample seasonal eats and spiced cocktails.
Sustainability and Artisanal Distillation
After being treated to a salmon sandwich and a decadent chocolate cake with zero flour, Samantha Hill, Chief Brand Officer of Bluewater, joined us outside. Sam elaborated on the pillars of sustainability and artisanal distillation that John had mentioned and touched on what drew her to Bluewater to begin with.
“I love this place. I was a faithful customer while Bluewater was in one of it’s older locations, and when they became a destination distillery they brought me into the company,” Samantha smiled at the thought. “I had been loyal here for a while, so to become part of the team was a dream. John Lundin is founder and head distiller, and he’s a real visionary.”
Day of Fun and Drinks at the Everett Marina
When asked to elaborate, she gushed, “Bluewater is built to be a destination distillery so people can escape. It’s for the community as a gathering place, and John just wants those who come and visit the Port of Everett to have fun around the Marina, have a day in the sun, maybe visit the farmers market, and have Bluewater as a destination to have cocktails and take in the day.”
And does community tie in with her work environment at Bluewater?
“We talk about sustainability, and a lot of people do, but it’s real,” she speaks as a long time customer, a friend, “Working with American Glass, 1% With The Planet, all the local sellers who help us to stock our kitchen with fresh ingredients. It’s nothing gimmicky, it’s not all marketing, Bluewater just is a reflection of our community and ingenuity. It continues to be built here, and be a staple... It’s the best!”