I once saw a T-shirt that read, “Alcohol: Because no great story ever started with a salad.” While I’m not sure that is actually true, booze and brews can certainly make a party that much more enjoyable. So this year, I salute some of our region’s finest distilleries and breweries that also happen to offer on-site event space. Cheers!
The Last Frontier’s First Choice for Brews and Banquets
Set in the heart of downtown Anchorage, Glacier BrewHouse is an upscale restaurant with on-site brewery. The brewery specializes in English and American West Coast–style beers—half of which are poured on-site, with the other half distributed in Alaska and Washington. It consistently ranks among the top 10 brewpubs for beer production.
The restaurant features soaring ceilings with exposed wood rafters and open ductwork, as well as a huge stone fireplace in the center of the dining room. Executive chef Jolene Moellers and her team have created an eclectic menu that features items such as double-dipped chicken, herb-crusted Alaskan halibut and hearty Alaskan seafood chowder. In addition, a wood-fired brick oven is used to create its artisan pizzas.
For private groups or meetings, Glacier BrewHouse has a conference room and banquet room. The conference room can accommodate 14 guests around a granite table. “It’s very popular for small business meetings and special occasions,” says Rebecca Sherwood, events coordinator and sales director. The larger banquet room offers space for up to 32 guests. “It offers family-style service. Guests really love that they get to taste a little bit of everything,” Sherwood says. “The room is really popular at the holidays for Christmas parties.”
GLACIER BREWHOUSE, Anchorage, Alaska | 907.274.2739
British Columbia’s Top Venue for Signature and Sustainable Spirits
The Liberty Distillery
The Liberty Distillery on Vancouver’s Granville Island makes its spirits with British Columbia–grown agricultural raw materials, including organic wheat for its gin and vodka, and organic barley for its whiskey.
The distillery’s cocktail lounge can accommodate as many as 35 people, who can enjoy signature drinks made with Liberty’s spirits, handcrafted cordials and freshly squeezed juices. “We try to create a customized experience for the group. We will do a menu with their logo and colors, and re-create or rename cocktails for their event,” says co-founder Lisa Simpson. The glass doors to the distillery are open during the party, and guests can take a private 30–40 minute tour and signature flight tasting. “They basically have access to the entire distillery,” she says.
The lounge has two showpiece bars. The back bar was built in 1910 for a Philadelphia hotel that was boarded up during Prohibition. Years later, when the hotel was being torn down, the bar was salvaged. The front bar is from Weatherford, Texas, and was built in 1895. “All of the tables and seating were made from reclaimed wood and handcrafted by local furniture makers,” Simpson says.
The venue has hosted everything from graduation parties to VIP receptions and corporate meetings.
THE LIBERTY DISTILLERY Vancouver, British Columbia | 604.558.1998
Idaho’s One-of-a-Kind Venue in a One-of-a-Kind Distillery
Bardenay Distillery and Restaurant
Located in Boise’s historic Basque Block, the Bardenay Distillery and Restaurant is set in a turn-of-the- 20th-century brick building. Opened in 2000, it was the first distillery/restau - rant in the country and is still the only one of its kind in Idaho (along with its two other locations, in Eagle and Coeur d’Alene).
The Bardenay offers a pair of spaces to choose from: the Boiler Room, an intimate space that can accommodate 30 guests, and Beside the Bardenay, a stand-alone event space located adjacent to the restaurant, which can accommodate as many as 150. “Beside the Bardenay offers its own staff, bar and restroom. We’ve hosted corporate functions, weddings and receptions, birthday parties—pretty much any type of event,” explains Joely Rhodes, events coordinator.
Both spaces feature high ceilings and original brick and woodwork. While the Boiler Room (so named because it includes the boiler that fuels the still) is cozy, with mood lighting and casks, the Beside the Bardenay is open and bright, and features an industrial-style bar.
As a bonus, if you’re on your way out of the city and want a last sip of Bardenay’s fine whiskey, the Boise Airport has a new Bardenay restaurant on its concourse.
BARDENAY DISTILLERY AND RESTAURANT, Boise, Idaho | 208.426.0538
Portland’s First Craft, First-Choice Brewery Venue
Set within a 100-plus-year-old building in Portland’s Pearl District, BridgePort was Portland’s first craft brewery, and its building was once home to a hemp rope manufacturer. Some of the beers it brews on-site include Hop Czar Imperial IPA, Kingpin Double Red Ale, India Pale Ale and Conviction Crystal Dry-Hopped Pale Ale.
Catering breakfast, lunch or dinner, the venue offers two spaces: the Heritage Room and the Old Knucklehead Room. The Heritage Room can hold as many as 115 guests for a standing reception or 100 seated. The Old Knucklehead Room can accommodate 10–28 guests. The spaces feature a rustic-elegant aesthetic, with soaring ceilings and original architectural detailing, such as brick walls and old-growth timber. Both rooms also have LCD projectors and screens; the Heritage Room features surround sound.
Event Manager Barbara Lee says the brewery has hosted everything from corporate dinners and all-day meetings to weddings (both receptions and ceremonies), bar and bat mitzvahs, reunions and networking events. They can even set up a tour of the brewery. “It’s a 20–30-minute tour, and tour guides will talk about our history, sustainability practices and the brewing process,” Lee says.
BRIDGEPORT BREWPUB Portland, Oregon | 503.241.7179, ext. 310
Washington’s Single Most Interesting, Single Malt Distillery Venue
Located in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, Westland is currently the largest single malt whiskey distillery in the country. The building is the perfect marriage of Old World charm and sleek industrial chic, boasting 40-foot-high ceilings, exposed timber, reclaimed wood, comfortable leather furnishings and concrete floors.
Westland has played host to a variety of local companies and a range of event types, including parties for Microsoft and Amazon. Accommodating groups of as many as 300 for standing receptions or 150 seated, the building offers three spaces: the 2,200-square-foot tasting room and bar, the 1,650-square-foot cask room (appropriately lined from floor to ceiling with casks) and the 510-squarefoot Billiard Loft. The venue comes equipped with a projector, screen, built-in sound system and free Wi-Fi. In addition, guests can enjoy a tour of the distillery, as well as tastings.
Events Manager Phoebe Hopkins says Westland has become a popular event venue choice for companies because, “There is a trend in corporate meetings and gatherings to choose unconventional settings.” The distillery’s design and layout, she notes, create a “homey, welcoming” setting. “Companies enjoy the space, they enjoy the whiskey and they enjoy each other’s company,” she explains. “They are able to make a personal connection with their employees and clients.”
WESTLAND DISTILLERY Seattle | 206.767.7250