The Port of Chelan County has entered into a lease agreement for its second tenant at the Port’s Cashmere Mill District Business Park. Blue Spirits Distilling, a Chelan based distillery, has agreed to lease 6,800 square feet. This business expansion is expected to create 8 new jobs and result in private investment exceeding $500,000 in Chelan County. Just as important, small distilleries are an emerging industry contributing significant tax revenues to the State of Washington. In response to the news, Port of Chelan Commission Vice President Donn Etherington stated, “The Port is pleased with the strong market demand for the two 16,500 square foot buildings currently under construction by the Port. Our goal of creating new jobs and attracting private investment to the Cashmere Mill District site is being realized.”
The founder of Blue Spirits Distilling, Jeff Soehren, stated, “Our business has been experiencing rapid growth and it was critical for us to secure additional processing, warehousing and distribution space for our distillery operation. The Port Commission’s vision to constructed general-purpose shell buildings at its Cashmere Mill District Site could not have come at a better time for our expanding business.” Blue Spirits Distilling started in Chelan. They currently have two facilities in Leavenworth, a tasting room downtown and an event space, food, & cocktail lounge on Highway 2. This new addition will allow Blue Spiritsto expand its creative footprint by distilling bespoke whisky’s, including Rye, Bourbon and a Bavarian style Single Malt. This facility will allow Blue Spirits customers to experience all aspects of whisky production from grain processing through to barrel aging. Customers can even purchase their own barrels to commemorate this event and be able to taste them as they age.
Chelan County Commission Chairman Kevin Overbay commented, “Chelan County made a financial contribution from its dedicated economic development sales tax fund to assist the Port in constructing the buildings at the Cashmere Mill District Site. It is great to see an immediate return to the citizens of Chelan County.” “Cashmere is excited to see the economic development activities surrounding the Port’s development of the Cashmere Mill District Business Park. It is resulting in new jobs and private investments. I would like to thank the Port Commissioners for their leadership and vision,” said Cashmere Mayor Jim Fletcher.
Both buildings are expected to be completed this summer. Previously, the Port announced Hurst International, a Chatsworth, California based fruit label printer and labeling equipment manufacturer agreed to lease 6,500 square feet. The Port’s investment in the new buildings will exceed $6.7 million. Last summer, Chelan County Commissioners approved a $500,000 economic development sales tax grant for the project.
The Port of Chelan County is the lead economic development agency for the County. Three elected Port Commissioners govern the Port: JC Baldwin, Donn Etherington and Rory Turner.