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From Apples to Alcohol

Twenty-five thousand trees produce apples for Bellewood Distilling. The apples are crushed and put into 125-gallon tanks to ferment and then be distilled. About 30 pounds of apples go into each bottle of liquor. Bellewood owners and staff pride themselves on growing what they distill, embodying the tagline “farm to glass.”

John and his wife Dorie Belisle planted Bellewood Acres’ first apple orchard in 1996. It quickly grew and became a local hotspot for picking your own apples or pumpkins in fall, and the best place to grab a slice of apple pie or a bite for lunch. They opened the distillery to utilize the large number of apples that can’t make it to market.

Distiller Michael Brannan says they will produce about 8,000–10,000 gallons of vodka in a year, and about 300–600 gallons of brandy. “Everything is made from apples and grown on the farm,” he says.

Brannan says their goal has always been to make spirits good enough to enjoy neat or simply mixed in a way that highlights the spirits natural flavor.

They produce eight different liquors and liqueurs. Among them are two different vodkas. One made with whatever apples they have on hand and another is the only vodka in the world made start-to-finish with Honeycrisp apples. Owner John Belisle says all their spirits are award-winning, except one.

“Every product we have except the regular vodka, any damn apple-in-the-bottle vodka, has won an award and that’s only because we haven’t entered it,” Belisle says. “We have Honeycrisp vodka and it’s magical and we always enter that.”


Bellewood Makes:

    • Vodka from apples, honey-crisp apples as well as a raspberry vodka.
    • Gin made with their special blend on juniper, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, angelica root, and orange peel.
    • Apple Brandy aged 28 months.
    • Eau de vie “water of life”, a European style unaged brandy.
    • Pumpkin spice liqueur made from their pumpkins.
    • Bruce, a combination of brandy and apple juice.
6140 Guide Meridian Rd., Lynden
360.318.7720, bellewooddistilling.com

To continue reading our feature on Spirits, click here!

"Bellewood owners and staff pride themselves on growing what they distill, embodying the tagline “farm to glass.”"