SoDo-based distillery expands to the Skagit Valley

Work was recently completed on phase one of a new facility for SoDo-based makers of American single malt whiskey, Westland Distillery, on approximately 80 acres of land in the Skagit Valley.

The project consists of three 13,0000-square-foot buildings, called rackhouses, which are used for the storage, aging, and maturation of the distiller’s signature whiskey in oak barrels. Upward Architecture designed the structures and site plan. Upward has been working with Westland on the project since 2018 and previously designed the company’s original SoDo distillery which opened in 2013.

“You can’t make a whiskey that embodies the Pacific Northwest terroir in a climate-controlled metal warehouse,” Mark Ward, architect and founder of Upward Architecture, told the DJC. Accordingly, Westland’s new barrel aging rackhouses are largely concrete structures which are unconditioned and passively ventilated. This invites the Skagit Valley air, climate, and temperature to leave their signatures on the whiskey aging within. Thermal mass from the building’s tilt-up concrete walls tempers the peaks and valleys of diurnal temperature swings in the valley, just like rackhouses throughout Scotland have done for centuries.

Roof overhangs are located at entries on each end of the rackhouses to protect workers while loading and unloading barrels. Doors and signage are painted a bold red to tie-in with Westland’s branding.

The complex’s stormwater is managed through a series of underground injection control wells to reintroduce runoff to an aquifer located beneath without degrading Skagit Valley topsoils.

The site is master planned for an additional eight rackhouses to be constructed in pairs over the next two to three decades as Westland’s whiskey production grows. Portions of the property are also being used for sustainable agriculture research and organic barley farming in association with the Skagit Valley based WSU Breadlab where Westland sponsors a doctoral student research fellowship.

The project team also includes Jacobson Consulting Engineers, civil engineer; Associated Earth Sciences, geotechnical engineer; Swenson Say Fagét, structural engineer; Coffman Engineers, fire protection engineer; 51 Eggs, graphics and signage; and TRICO, general contractor.

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