09.23.21

Kilmer visits county, hears business concerns

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, paid a visit to Mason County last Thursday to check-in on his constituents.

Kilmer, who represents Washington's sixth congressional district that includes Mason County, started the day by touring Big Creek Campground at Lake Cushman. According to a news release, he visited the area to talk to state and regional leaders.

He hit the road to Hoodsport to visit Hardware Distillery and Hoodsport Winery. While at the distillery, he spoke with owners Jan and Chuck Morris about how their business was doing.

The Morris' told Kilmer about how the distillery was surviving through the pandemic, with customers often walking by, seeing the tasting area was available outside and stopping by to test out liquor and purchase a bottle or two. They also talked to Kilmer about some of their needs, including some of the supply chain issues they are facing.

The Morris' noted they are having trouble purchasing sealable tops for smaller glass bottles, as well as the bottles themselves. Some of their suppliers have told the Morris' they'll be lucky if they can get them until 2022 but have some supply available to get them through until supplies become more available.

Kilmer discussed the distilling process with the Morris' before trying out some of the liquors for himself. He bought a few bottles before walking down to Potlach Brewery, a new brewery in Hoodsport owned by Cody Morris, the son of Jan and Chuck.

While at the brewery, Kilmer checked out some of the beers available before talking with Cody about some of the issues he is facing as he tries to fully open. One of the issues Cody is facing is the tariffs on aluminum and steel, which have caused a strain to his business in obtaining cans and kegs.

Kilmer told the Journal he was visiting in part because of the Distillery Revitalization Act he introduced to try and correct the Restaurant Revitalization Fund's criteria and extending eligibility to struggling WA state distilleries. Kilmer's correction would require the Small Business Administration to allow a distillery to qualify for the funds "if the combined total of the gross receipts of the distillery from onsite sales and sales to retailers for onsite sale is not less than 33%."

Kilmer wrapped up his day by visiting the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group's Summer Chum Trap.


By:  Matt Baide
Source: Shelton-Mason County Journal