Salmon-Safe, the West Coast environmental certification nonprofit, in partnership with Copperworks Distilling and Mainstem Malt announced the release of Copperworks’ Whiskey Release 039—an American Single Malt Whiskey that helps protect Washington’s rivers and watersheds. The release is the nation’s first whiskey made with Salmon-Safe ingredients.
“We love supporting farmers that help protect our watersheds,” said Copperworks Distilling Co. co-founder and president Jason Parker, “and as it turns out, the varietal from this farm has produced some beautiful whiskey. We’re tasting flavors that reflect cedar and fruity red wine, which are dramatically different from other grains that we use. We’re really excited to release this whiskey, and in turn, support farmers that are protecting our planet.”
Founded by river protection organization Pacific Rivers, Salmon-Safe works to inspire land management practices that protect water quality and wildlife habitat. Salmon-Safe’s peer reviewed certification standards focus on reducing watershed impacts from farm operations. To qualify for certification, farms meet rigorous conservation requirements including enhancing habitat for wildlife, implementing biological and cultural controls for pests and phasing out pesticides harmful to fish and wildlife, restoring stream habitat, and implementing practices to promote soil health and prevent runoff from fields.
In Walla Walla, Salmon-Safe certified farmland produces barley and wheat thanks to the work of Mainstem Malt, a company that recruits landowners to adopt the certification so that it can provide single varieties of Salmon-Safe grains, from single family-farms, to breweries and distilleries. The company worked with H.T. Rea Farm to grow the Genie malt used in Copperworks’ American SIngle Malt Whiskey Release 039. As part of its certification, the farm places buffers around tributaries—which connect to the Columbia River—restricts hazardous chemicals and pesticides, adopts minimum tilling practices, and has removed in-stream crossings to control erosion.
“The Genie malt in this whiskey is really a place-based experiment,” said Mainstem Malt founder, Phil Neumann. “Not only do we get to taste the ‘terroir’ of dry-farmed grain from Walla Walla, we know that this grain comes from a farm that intentionally protects the land and water downstream through its commitment to Salmon-Safe farming practices. I’ll drink to that!”
“For Salmon-Safe, environmentally innovative industry partners like Copperworks and Mainstem are essential to inspire a market shift towards water quality protection and habitat conservation on Northwest farms,” said Dan Kent, Salmon-Safe’s Executive Director. “We’ve seen in the wine and craft beer sector how Salmon-Safe messaging can be a powerful message in the marketplace.”
At just 2,103 bottles, Release 039 is highly limited. The distillery has plans to continue experimenting with this single variety grain so that drinkers can explore, in vertical sets, how the malt’s flavor changes depending on weather conditions and other factors, year over year.
750ml bottles of Copperworks Release 039 can be purchased online at copperworksdistilling.com or at the distillery, which is located at 1250 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA.
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