Categories: North America, NYC

Q&A: Nathan Kaiser, Craft Distiller, Seattle

Nathan Kaiser of 2Bar Spirits, in Seattle
Nathan, pictured in 2bar Spirits’ tasting room next to a photo of his grandfather holding his father at 2Bar ranch. Photo by Naomi Bishop

“We are exceptionally fortunate to be located in Seattle—this city celebrates diversity and locally sourced products.”—Nathan Kaiser, owner-operator of 2bar Spirits

Tell us about what you do.
I am the owner-operator of Seattle’s 2bar Spirits, a craft distillery that’s entirely handmade from 100% locally grown grain. 2bar embodies “from grain to glass.” Whole grains arrive from local farmers, and we take those grains and make spirits entirely on site at our SODO location. We make 2bar Vodka, which is a wheat-based vodka, and 2bar Moonshine, a clear corn whiskey. Additionally, we are barrel aging a bourbon as well. 

What led you to your current position?
2bar Spirits is an homage to a long family history of working the land and taking ownership over the products you produce. The name "2bar" comes from my family’s ranch, where five generations of my family has worked the land.

I had been working in tech startups for more than 10 years and wanted to get back into product. 2bar brings together my tech background (lean startup, efficiency), microbiology degree, and love of moonshine whiskey!

Bottle of 2Bar Spirits' Moonshine, Seattle
          Photo by Nathan Kaiser

What is your favorite part of the job?
That’s a tough one. I truly enjoy every aspect of the process, from production to sales. However, at the end of the day, my favorite thing is when I hear how much people have enjoyed our spirits with close friends and family. 

What is a typical day like for you?
I start my day in production, where we begin by milling and mashing whole grain. The grains of course depend on the spirit we are making. However, I am usually out the door by the afternoon, out meeting with local bars and restaurants. Evenings are spent catching up and working on regulator paperwork.

How do your spirits speak to the culinary landscape of Seattle?
We are exceptionally fortunate to be located in Seattle—this city celebrates diversity and locally sourced products. 2bar represents that entirely local offering with a wonderful diversity of flavor. I have been amazed by the support we’ve received from the local cocktail community for 2bar Vodka and 2bar Moonshine. They relish the opportunity to introduce authentic flavors and local spirits into their cocktails!

What’s one iconic dish (or drink!) in Seattle that a visitor cannot miss?
For me, it has become the High Plans Drifter at the Sexton. It is a martini made with 2bar Moonshine and has been a huge favorite of mine and their other customers.

Eat Your World focuses a lot on a city’s historic, traditional foods. What do you think is the future of food and spirits in Seattle?
We are living in amazing times with the wealth of food, beer, wine, and spirits around. The diversity of approaches and flavors is astonishing. We in the spirits world have a lot to catch up on, as the local beer and wine industries have a good 20- to 30-year head start on us! That being said, there are some amazing spirits being produced by the different local distilleries.

On EYW, we ask users to share short food memories related to travel, a favorite meal, growing up—anything. Can you share a brief food memory with our readers?
One of my favorite desserts of all time is called "green grape pie," and when I would visit the 2bar ranch growing up (which was often), my grandmother would pick the local green grapes and bake them into the most amazing sweet, tart pie. The grapes themselves were only edible after having removed the skins. And the amount of work necessary to make a single pie was quite astounding. She put love and hard work into each one, and they were mouth-watering good!

2bar Spirits is located at 2960 4th Ave S, in Seattle. Find its products in the Northwest U.S. here, or visit the on-site tasting room (open daily, 2pm-6pm).

Published On: June 10, 2013

Leave A Comment