Feathering the Empty Nest

About the Author: The following blog article was authored by The Silverado Express. We are greatly appreciative of Liz taking the time to visit the distillery and writing up such a great article!


With an empty nest creeping up on them, Greg and Trisha Schwartz were looking for something to take on that would both entertain and employ them. Residents of Loon Lake since 2002, they have owned and operated Loon Lake Motors, selling quality used cars, but according to Trisha, the used car business isn’t always a walk in the park and they were ready to find something that tapped into their creative side. In 2011, the Schwartzes attended a bottling event at a nearby craft distillery and were instantly captivated. Appealing to both Trisha and Greg’s affinity for cooking, distilling small batch artisan spirits offered a challenge and creative flexibility that they both appreciated.

Trisha’s family has owned property on Loon Lake since 1972, but it wasn’t until 2002 that they brought their children to the area to raise. As the kids reached college age, Greg and Trisha wanted to find a way to tap into the creative tourist community of the rural area, understanding the trials and triumphs of small business ownership as it relates to the vitality of a small town. They jumped in feet first, enrolling in a week long distilling course in Western Washington where they learned the ins and outs of craft distilling as well as the technical and legal requirements on the industry. Opening 2 Loons in 2014, it’s been an ever evolving education for the couple as they have experimented with recipes and techniques along the way.

It’s a complex procedure to develop unique recipes that adhere to industry standards set by the liquor board, meeting distillation requirements for alcohol content and again to qualify spirits under certain classifications. Trisha laughs that it hasn’t always been successful, and finding a system that works has been a challenge that they have enjoyed in spite of the speedbumps along the way. The 2 Loons line of Loon Lightning is an example of a spirit that didn’t fall into the category that they intended with the first batch, so they adapted it and expanded the popular spirit with naturally flavored variations that have become some of their most popular trademark products, including Loon Lightning Coffee, Blackberry and Mint. “It would be easier if we just made one or two recipes,” Trisha says with a laugh, “but we got into this for the creative aspect,” and branching out is all part of the adventure. All of their spirits are created using Washington grown fruits and grains, and infused with natural local flavors.


In addition to the Loon Lightning, they produce a corn whiskey, bourbon, cinnamon whiskey, vodka and gin that all present a fresh, unique twist on standard classics. At the distillery, located just off Highway 395 in Loon Lake, Trisha and Greg are on hand on Thursday from 11-4 in the afternoon, and from 11-5 on Friday and Saturday. They also do tours and tastings by appointment by calling (509) 998-0440. At present, their products are only available in the tasting room at their distillery. Distribution to local restaurants, bars and stores is a part of the long term plan for the distillery.

The last few months has seen 2 Loons expanding their operation from the ground up with new 500 gallon fermentors, water tank and mash tun, and a still constructed with the help of local distiller Henry Anderson using his patented Gatling Still technology to maximize the flavor capturing techniques of copper in a process that is as pretty as it is productive. Partnering with other local artisan distillers, brewers and coffee roasters, Greg and Trisha work hard to establish a solid rapport with the growing industry and help spread the love of community driven business and tourism. In addition to Anderson of Dominion Distillery in Colville, they have strong working relationships with Quartzite brewing in Chewelah, Chamokane Creek coffee, Chew Vino Wine Bar in Chewelah and many other local businesses. Together, these local small business owners build a network toward a rewarding tourism experience in the rural area of Stevens County.


For the Schwartzes, raising their children in the pristine setting of Loon Lake has been a rewarding experience. They want to share the beauty and strength of their small community with visitors and friends, enjoying the natural haven of the lake and the richness of all four seasons in the area. For these 2 Loons, distilling craft spirits is all about enjoying their time as their children leave the nest, building new relationships and sharing the adventure of small town living. The summer of 2015, 2 Loons had trouble keeping up with demand for their product as locals figured out what was going on and gave the delicious spirits a try. The hearty reception of 2 Loons in the community has helped the business take flight into the next phase of production and given Greg and Trish the push out of the nest that they need to spread their wings.

Coffee Loon Lightening Arrives Just in Time for the Holidays

2 Loons SpiritsWe just launched another new product, Coffee Loon Lightning – just in time for the holiday season! Coffee Loon Lightning pairs the natural sweetness of Washington corn with warm notes of toffee and caramel from local Roast House Café de America’s cold-brewed coffee. This coffee spirit is the perfect addition to holiday cocktails and will offer warmth and comfort on cold winter days. Coffee Loon Lightning is the ninth product in our growing product line and this is the first corn-based spirit of its kind in the area!

The summer months proved to be a great time for business, with the influx of vacationers looking to catch a break from the heat and explore all that Loon Lake has to offer (you can imagine they were pleasantly surprised to find a craft distillery in town).

“It’s been an awesome summer! Greg and I are overwhelmed by the phenomenal support from the residents of Loon Lake and the surrounding communities. Thanks to our customers, we are on our way to living our dream of having a successful craft distillery!”

We have found that the key to success is building relationships with other local businesses in the area. Through word-of-mouth and cross-promotion, we can help each other grow our businesses! Last month, we  partnered with ChewVino Wine Bar & Bistro in Chewelah to offer “First Friday Flights” where we had the chance to meet and mingle with customers while serving flights of three 2 Loons cocktails. ChewVino is the first restaurant to carry 2 Loons products!

As we enter our second year of business, we are looking forward to expand production to get our spirits on the shelves of local stores and behind the bars of local restaurants. We are in the process of purchasing larger equipment that will allow us to double (or maybe even triple!) our current production in the upcoming year.

But for now, we are focused on getting ready for the winter and holiday festivities. We hope to share our spirits with new groups of people who are heading up north for skiing and other winter activities and will be offering private tours throughout the holiday season. For holiday gift-giving, we have expanded our selection of gift items to include: box signs, glassware, shakers, flasks and canteens, and apparel. We also have lots of jewelry items for sports fans, featuring the Seahawks, Cougars, and Huskies. We’re also super excited to be offering custom gift baskets for gift-giving-made-easy, including corporate baskets for businesses looking to give unique local gifts to clients and colleagues!

2 Loons Distillery spirits are currently available for purchase at our tasting room and store located at 3950 3rd Avenue, Loon Lake, WA 99148. Our official Fall/Winter/Spring hours are Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., but we encourage people who are in the area to stop if our open sign is on. We also give tours and tastings on the fly or by appointment, so please call or text 509-998-0440 if you are in the area or before you plan on making the drive up.

2 Loons Tasting Room