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An advent calendar for grown-ups

Heritage Distilling Company offers third annual Spirits Advent Calendar

For the third year, Heritage Distilling Company is once again offering its ever-popular Spirits Advent Calendar. Photo credit: Heritage Distilling Company

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While enjoying an adult beverage on a trip to China a few years ago, Jennifer Steifel, president of Gig Harbor's Heritage Distilling Company (HDC), and Hannah Hanley, HDC's director of strategic communications, came up with a brilliant idea: an advent calendar for grown-ups. A calendar where each traditionally numbered flap would reveal a 50-milliter bottle of one of HDC's prize-winning spirits.

Three years ago, that vision became a reality with the introduction of the Heritage Distilling Company's Spirits Advent Calendar. Marketed through its Washington and Oregon distilleries and through grocery stores, liquor stores and specialty shops throughout the South Puget Sound, the calendar was a hit. Since then, it has become an indispensible part of Christmas traditions throughout the South Sound.

"This year's Spirits Advent Calendar features a new design (mid-century modern holiday) and contains a new mix of HDC products," said Courtney Chaffin, Heritage Distilling Company's marketing assistant. Included in that mix are:

  • Brown Sugar Bourbon
  • Brown Sugar Bourbon 103
  • Batch #12 Bourbon
  • Elk Rider Bourbon
  • Elk Rider Rye
  • Elk Rider Vodka
  • Elk Rider Crisp Gin
  • Coffee Flavored Vodka
  • Vanilla Flavored Vodka
  • D's Seasoned Vodka
  • Lavender Flavored Vodka
  • Blood Orange Flavored Vodka

Retailing for $40-$45, the calendar "is the only craft, U.S.-produced, spirits advent calendar on the market, and the only one available for under $50," Chaffin said.

It can be found at most major grocery stores in Gig Harbor, as well as liquor stores and specialty stores -- such as Trader Joe's, BevMo, Whole Foods, Harbor Greens and others -- throughout the South Puget Sound. It can also be purchased from the company's website ( and on Amazon Prime.

As a precocious 7th grader, Justin Stiefel, Heritage Distilling Company's founder, became interested in the distilling process after producing his first batch of spirits. With a degree in chemical engineering and another in law, his route to becoming the South Puget Sound's first distiller since prohibition was a roundabout one, but in 2012, Heritage Distilling Company opened its flagship distillery in the small town of Gig Harbor. A second Gig Harbor location was followed by a distillery in Eugene, Oregon, and later this month, a fourth distillery will open in Roslyn, Washington, with a fifth distillery slated to open in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood sometime next year.

For the past three years, HDC's high quality and uniquely creative spirits have made it the American Distilling Institute's Most Awarded Craft Distillery in North America.  Its Spirit Advent Calendar is a great way to sample some of its best-known spirits and a few of their new beverages. It makes a great early Christmas present for that hard-to-gift person on Santa's list.

Heritage Distilling Company Flagship Distillery, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday-Saturday; closed Sunday, 3207 57th St. Ct. NW, Gig Harbor, 253.509.0008,

Heritage Distilling Company Waterfront Distillery, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday-Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday-Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, 3118 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor, 253.514.8120,

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