Washington has always been a very nostalgic place for me. My mother and grandfather were born there, we spent many a summer there when I was a kid, and the scenery often reminds me of my all time favorite television show "Twin Peaks." Getting the chance to hang out in Seattle is always an attractive one for that reason, but when I can combine business with pleasure it's a no brainer. After spending the day learning about the barleys of Skagit Valley, the Westland gang and I headed back to the distillery for some tasting. They're currently shut down for the summer, but I still love looking at their stills and production facility. It's such a beautiful place they're constructed.
Another great reason to visit Seattle is my friend and co-worker Joel Nicholas. Our manager for customer service and logistics, Joel tried to resign from K&L in 2014 after announcing he and his wife would be moving home to start a family. Neither childrearing nor proximity were enough to let his talents go, however. We set him up with a phone, a computer, and said get back to work! So when you call to place an order and you talk to Joel, imagine him sitting at home in Seattle rather than in our Redwood City office. Joel met us at Westland to taste the upcoming Garryana limited release as well as learn more about the facility. He was absolutely smitten and I was glad to indoctrinate another K&L whiskey drinker into the fold.
The four of us went to dinner after tasting casks at the distillery and afterward I said my goodbye to both Joel and Westland distiller Matt Hofmann as they headed home for the night. That's when the trouble started. Matt Freerks, Westland's sales manager, and I were likely separated at birth. We practically finish each other's sentences. We get along so well that letting the two of us loose in the same city at the same time is a dangerous proposition. After dinner, the two of us took a drive over to Capitol Hill and hit up Bar Sue, which was so fun and so nostalgic that Matt had to practically drag me out of there at 2 AM. Everything that I thought had died living in San Francisco is alive and well in Seattle. I'm practically teary-eyed just thinking about it now: dancing, dressing up, drinking for the fun of it, listening to music, hanging out with a diverse and interesting group of people. Who would think that would be so hard to find these days?
Even MTV's Real World was there filming! Look for Matt and me on an upcoming episode.