Inside DC’s One Eight Distilling

As part of our Simple Ingredients Make Design Taste Good campaign, we’re highlighting those who practice a simple ingredients philosophy in life, work, or play.


One Eight Distilling’s co-founders and former college roommates Sandy Wood, also CEO, and Alex Laufer, head distiller, wake up every day with a shared passion to be the DC distillery that produces the finest spirits from grain to glass in the district. The two’s journeys to making booze vary greatly — law and catering — but now they’re being recognized at national competitions. One Eight Distilling recently won gold this April at the 17th annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

one eight distilling washington dc distillery, design, interiors
SANDY WOOD, CO-FOUNDER & CEO

One Eight’s featured spirits include Rock Creek Whiskey, Ivy City Gin, and District Made Vodka. They also have a series of untitled whiskeys and experiment with small batch runs. Their bottle designs show sophistication in understated design, and the distillation process can be interpreted as an easy equation. However, Wood explains One Eight’s distillation process as a complex approach that evolves based on their curiosity. The size of the barrels affects the surface area relative to the whiskey and the amount of time needed for aging. Barrel picks influence infusion based on what they formerly held, like sherry, port, and coffee. Toasting or charring barrels impacts sugar-carbon levels, color and flavor notes. For Wood and Laufer, these limitless options and combinations evolve simple notions into unique methods that produce their superb product.

one eight distilling washington dc distillery, design, interiors
ALEX LAUFER, CO-FOUNDER & HEAD DISTILLER

In regard to One Eight’s ingredients, simplicity evades their selections though they appear straightforward. “Distilling is really just grains no matter where you are or what you are making, shares Wood. “But I wouldn’t say we use simple ingredients. I would say we know where our ingredients come from and what they taste like raw.” Wood and Laufer choose local ingredients to support local farmers, save on shipping, and cut down on transportation. “Those local relationships have a lot of meaning for us, and the grains are great quality.”

Is anything simple for One Eight? Wood and Laufer ground their business model and practice in simplicity. “On the production side we are honest and transparent with everything we do. We’re in a business where there are a lot of stories, and we are simple in terms of what we are making and who we are,” states Wood.

one eight distilling washington dc distillery, design, bar
Wood explains the distillation process

Wood longingly looks toward his sea of barrels quite often, and he did so on Wingate Hughes’ tour of the space. “This is the future of the company,” Wood shares. “I’m excited looking at all the whiskey in our future.” Simple and perfect.

one eight distilling washington dc distillery, design, bar
One Eight’s Future and Whiskey Dreams

Visit One Eight’s site to learn more about their tours, drinks, and offerings.