The Roberts family who founded Westport Winery in 2008 are launching Ocean’s Daughter Distillery as their next adventure on their 20-acre garden resort located halfway between Aberdeen and Westport on the Washington coast. Their latest entrepreneurial enterprise will begin distilling spirits as soon as their federal bond and state licensing are approved which is typically about a six-month process.
Blain and Kim Roberts, who previously owned Lahaina Divers on Maui, along with their adult children Carrie and Dana, are partners in this new business as well as the winery. The family, all avid water sports enthusiasts, gravitated to a name that fit their history and lifestyle. Blain and Kim were both licensed boat captains when they met. Additionally, he was a scuba and surf instructor. Kim and Carrie are both divemasters with advanced dive training. Dana, who was a competitive swimmer, is also a scuba diver and surfer.
Carrie and Kim had been traveling throughout the states visiting other distilleries for two years before presenting the concept to Blain and Dana who said, “It took Dad and I about a minute to say yes.” Dana, who has been the head winemaker will now add distilling to his skill set. “I’m looking forward to this new challenge. Now that we have an assistant winemaker it will allow me to branch out in my personal and professional education.”
Kim Roberts, an artist and formerly licensed architect said, “We all love the mythological notion of mermaids and pirates. Our connections to the sea run deep so that was the imagery that came to mind in our earliest discussions.” All of the labels will feature her original art of undersea fantasies. She said, “We think of the ocean as our second home and look forward to sharing that feeling with our guests.”
The partners plan to begin by producing the basics in the world of spirits: vodka, gin, whiskey, agave (tequila) and rum. Carrie said, “While my parents like cocktails with umbrellas, Dana and I prefer sipping top-shelf spirits, so we’re working on both ends of the spectrum.” Additionally, they will craft a cranberry liqueur named Berried Treasure in honor of their location on Washington’s Cranberry Coast.
They will call their tasting room the Mermaid’s Lounge: Pirates & Scallywags Welcome with the motto “She drinks like a fish. He swears like a sailor.” In choosing what are called “fanciful names” for their products they researched the history of each type of spirit to find its country of origin, then found the translation for sea nymph or mermaid in each language. Carrie said, “My favorite is Maighdeaan-mhara Whiskey. Dana loves the Nayada Vodka and wants to play with infusions. Dad is into the Sirena Rum so he can make his favorite Mai Tai recipes. Mom is already working in our gardens to gather the botanicals for Meermin Gin.”
Blain, ever the family leader, said, “From the beginning it was our dream to teach our kids to love the community, love the land, and love enterprise. This is one more step in our efforts to achieve this goal.”
Westport Winery Seaside received the 2019 Rising Star Award from the Seaside Chamber of Commerce. Westport Winery and the Roberts family were honored with Seattle Business Magazine’s Community Involvement Business of the Year for 2018. In 2017 the Westport Winery Garden Resort was named Greater Grays Harbor Business of the Year. USA Today named the Sea Glass Grill at Westport Winery Garden Resort one of the top five winery restaurants in the nation. The business has been voted Best Winery by King 5 Evening Magazine.
In 2016 Westport Winery was honored as one of the top twenty most-admired wineries in North America by Winery & Vineyard Management Magazine. The business earned Best Winery, Best Wine Shop, and Best Boutique Winery for 2016 by South Sound Magazine. They received the Grays Harbor Environmental Stewardship Award in 2015. They are finalist to the Best Washington Family Business competition by Seattle Business Magazine. And in 2011 they garnered Washington Winery to Watch by Wine Press Northwest.
In Oregon, Westport Winery Seaside and Seaside Kites are open daily from 11am to 6pm. For more information on the Oregon operation guests can visit their website at www.westportwinery.com. Family-friendly Westport Winery Garden Resort is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road halfway between Aberdeen and Westport. The Sea Glass Grill at the resort is open daily or brunch, lunch, and dinner from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and until 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more information or reservations call 360-648-2224.