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Made in the Northwest: Warrior Liquor

SPOKANE, Wash. - After selling their previous company, Pasta USA, Inc., several years ago, Rich Clemson and his wife, Mary, realized retirement isn't all it's cracked up to be.

"So we took a couple years off, got bored, decided to get back into the business game again," said Rich Clemson.
 
They're back working with locally grown grains again. Only this time, they're using them to make liquor.

"Everything that we use here is from local farmers," explained Clemson. "And it's just a situation to where all the grains in this area are underutilized for distillation."

But Warrior Liquor won't let them be underutilized anymore.

"Our whole philosophy was for people who come into our facility, see the investment that we've done in our facility and the quality of it, the quality of our equipment, the quality of our grains to make a world class product here in Spokane."

And Warrior is certainly not messing around in terms of its operation. All of this equipment is completely automated, was brought in from Europe and is top of the line."

"Everything is data driven, it's numerical values. So there's really no subjectiveness to it," said Clemson. "What we make yesterday, it's going to be the same as what we make tomorrow for that consistency of product."

Warrior also feels fortunate to have Brad and Bruce Budge, formerly of Budge Brothers Brewery, working as distillers.

"We've got 20 years of experience on their side in terms of mashing in, knowing the process, understanding how it's made, learning the distillation."

Warrior's facility allows it to be flexible and make a wide variety of products.

"We make a variety of flavored vodkas. We do a world class gin. We do a bourbon, a rye and a single malt," said Clemson. "Recently, we've just come out with some flavored bourbons - Cherry Bomb and Xpresso Bourbon."

And you can try them all in its tasting room, which is attached to the production facility.

"You can come here and experience our products in a very nice setting. We opened up last August. The reception's been awesome."

And while it's only been in business for a short time, Warrior is already on its way to achieving its goal of distribution throughout the western United States.

"We've got distribution throughout Washington. We're starting distribution in Montana and Idaho. So as we gear up and fulfill those requirements, we'll just do Oregon and move into California."

Bold business moves and bold liquor. All from being bored with retirement.


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