Christian Krogstad founded Westward in 2004. Westward malt whiskey is produced in the West Coast craft brewing tradition from the House Spirits Distillery on Distillery Row in Portland, Oregon.
Westward experiments with different malts and yeasts to develop different flavours and characteristics. The team favours long fermentation at a cool temperature. This process ensures little reflux at distillation and the resulting spirit is rich and textural. The new-make is then robust enough to withstand maturation in new, charred oak.
Westward frequently participates in barrel swaps with neighbouring breweries and wineries. The considerable craft brewing scene in the Pacific Northwest – 900 breweries in California alone – and remarkable wine-growing regions provide a veritable playground for the distillery. The team’s Tempranillo-finished whiskey garnered global praise.
In 2015, Westward increased capacity six-fold. Three years later the distillery grew again by almost 40% following investment from Diageo accelerator enterprise Distill Ventures.
Westward joins Krogstad’s eponymous aquavit, Volstead vodka and Casa Magdalena rum in the House Spirits Distillery portfolio. Aviation Gin – which was sold to Diageo for $610m in 2020 after actor Ryan Reynolds took on the brand – used to be produced at the distillery.