OUR HISTORY …. repeating itself…
They say you can’t escape your past and clearly alcohol was in our blood on both sides of the family. So in 2018, like our ancestors before us, we became distillers and are creating our own “spirited” history.
John Wohlfert’s side of the story…
My great grandfather, Johann Wohlfert, was born in Bavaria. On Sept 12, 1890, at the age of 14 (the passenger list said 17) he arrived by ship in Castle Garden, New York (before the days of Ellis Island). He claimed to be a “merchant”. His naturalization papers did not claim an occupation, but we’ve been told he was working as a baker’s assistant in a bakery in Queens, New York. He married my great grandmother in 1896 and by 1900 they had three children and we believe owned his first bakery.
By 1910 they had 7 children (he eventually had 9 total), all working in the bakery. My grandpa Adam made the pies, Andrew, his brother did the bread and the girls (the rest were girls) did cakes and pastries.
By 1920 the 18th Amendment was passed (aka the Volstead Act) and the legal party was over for alcohol. Technically, all you really need is sugar and yeast to make a vodka mash and great granddaddy had plenty of both. I suppose it’s kind of hard to justify moving huge quantities of sugar and grains from a small bakery so it seems he had to expand and by 1925 he had 3 bakeries and “business” was booming. Interestingly the kids only ever worked at the first bakery. In that same year, 1925, he claimed to have “retired”. Sadly, he never saw the repeal of the 18th Amendment and died in 1932 the year before it was repealed.
This is a 1920’s photo of my great grandparents in front of their fancy vehicle and one of many homes that they acquired from their successful family “baking business”. Family rumor has it that in one home the 3rd floor had an explosion because great granddaddy was “making beer” .
I’m pretty sure he would be proud that we are legally carrying on his legacy and again crafting quality American spirits for folks to enjoy.
Karen Mueller’s (now Wohlfert) side of the story…
I’m a Mueller (those that lived in a mill house) and like my ancestors before me I love working with grains and developing recipes (for baking and our beverages). Like John, my family also had more of a connection to grains and baking than alcohol, yet also made their own spirits during the prohibition. My grandmother made bathtub gin during the prohibition, and someday we may even resurrect the lost art of using a stainless-steel bathtub to steep florals in gin.
From Prohibition to No Inhibition
We are a family-owned distillery that hand crafts its beverages on site from locally sourced grains and clear water that comes from its own underground aquifer. We are John, Karen, and son, AJ and we are definitely living our dream. We reside on timberland property in Clearview, Washington that houses both our home and our distillery. We focus on recipe creation and the artistry involved with the hands-on-engagement of a non-automated still. Karen a, master baker, is skilled at both the art and the science that goes into baking and recipe creation. John, a veteran engineer, loves the challenge of the math involved to create a consistently high-quality product within very rigid federal requirements. Like baking, artisanal distilling does not provide a 100% repeatable product, therefore, providing each batch with its own slightly different personality, but always of exceptional quality.
We invite you to come visit our distillery for a superior tasting and learning experience. Your tasting adventure will no doubt evoke flickering images of our history… as we tell you about the future of our spirits…
For Adventurous Spirits