In this Nov. 14, 2017 photo, Nathan Bazan moves a pallet of supplies past whiskey aging in oak barrels at the Westland Distillery in Seattle. Westland is taking an unusual step for America's booming spirits industry: making a whiskey using smoke from peat grown locally in Washington state. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

New frontier for craft US whiskey may be underfoot

December 05, 2017 - 1:20 pm

SEATTLE (AP) — A Seattle distillery is taking an unusual step for the booming American craft spirits industry: using local peat to make whiskey.

Peat is a muddy precursor to coal. It consists of slowly decayed plants such as mosses and sedges, and it's been used to make whiskey in Scotland for centuries, giving many Scotches the campfire flavor for which they're known.

But few if any modern distilleries in the U.S. have used peat to smoke the barley they use to make their drams. That's changing with Seattle's Westland Distillery, which is using peat from Washington's Olympic Peninsula.

Westland's master distiller says it's part of his plans for making a true Pacific Northwest whiskey. Other parts include using locally grown barley and barrels made with a regional species of oak.

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