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Distillery now producing hand sanitizer

EVERSON — Despite the name, the folks at Probably Shouldn’t Distillery decided recently that they probably should use their distilling powers for something quite unique.

The distillery got the go-ahead from the federal government March 17 to begin producing hand sanitizer from the alcohol already on hand in the distillery. But the idea was born before the severity of the COVID-19 crisis was known.

Mariah Butenschoen co-owns Probably Shouldn’t with her husband, Shawn.

“I teach at Lynden High School,” Mariah said. “We were kind of joking about it at school, like ‘What if we cancel school?’ I said I should make hand sanitizer.”

Then, indeed, on March 13 school was canceled for six weeks, and Mariah told Shawn maybe they should produce hand sanitizer because it had become so hard to find and they have the ingredients readily available.

Read the full article here.

Local Distillery Begins Manufacturing Hand Sanitizer to Give Away in Community

Everson, WA – Probably Shouldn’t Distillery has begun producing a different kind of ‘essential’
quarantine product, hand sanitizer.

Located in Everson, WA, the family-owned distillery will begin producing and distributing hand sanitizer
as early as Tuesday, March 24. Shawn and Mariah Butenschoen, the founders of the distillery, are
starting by manufacturing over 1,000 bottles for donation. The couple plan to give them away for free in
the community to help combat the COVID-19 disease.

“I think everyone is looking around right now and wondering what they can do to help with the
situation,” Shawn said. “And we got to thinking, well, we have all this alcohol here…”

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Organic Blueberry Farm and Distillery Switches to Clean Energy

Check out the recent article published about our efforts with solar.


In the foothills of Sumas Mountain, the sound of excited children on a family outing filled lush rows of ripening blueberries at Breckenridge Blueberries, a certified organic farm in Everson.

Owned by Shawn and Mariah Butenschoen, the five-acre farm overlooks a valley floor generously lined with conventionally grown blueberry plants stretching to the horizon. This place offers both a glimpse of the past, when small family farms were the mainstay of American agriculture, and a vision of the future.

Breckenridge Blueberries is a true family operation: while Shawn spends most of his time tending to the blueberries and the day-to-day operations on the farm, Mariah uses her talent as a writer, storyteller, and blogger for marketing the farm’s u-pick and we-pick operations.

Even the Butenschoens’ two sons are active farm operators: eight-year-old Bo shows visitors around, giving tours and bringing snacks to the family, while ten-year-old Owen uses his math smarts to aid the business. “I usually do the calculations of the pounds. I’m the money man reporting for duty,” said Owen with a flair.

In addition to the five acres of variety blueberries, the farm also boasts a quiet watering hole—Probably Shouldn’t Distillery—which is owned and operated by the Butenschoens.

It was on a warm summer afternoon that Shawn and Mariah greeted some customers—a married couple—in the distillery’s new 18 by 23-foot event room that Shawn renovated himself. Using recycled corrugated metal roofing and cedar trim, Shawn has turned the once modest storage shed into a now welcoming and rustic gathering place that hosts parties and samplings of the distillery’s craft fruit brandies, liqueurs, Single-Malt whiskey, and Old-Tom gin.

“Oh! This is really good,” approved the couple, savoring mini-shot glasses of premium raspberry brandy.

“Perfect for a Raspberry Mule,” inserted Mariah, right on cue.

Utilizing hundreds of pounds of unmarketable and overripe blueberries that would’ve otherwise rotted was the genesis of Probably Shouldn’t Distillery, according to Shawn.

But, after installing and operating his Bain Marie-style double boiler still with an 80-gallon capacity, he realized a fundamental, and perhaps fatal flaw to his business model.

“The distillery started getting busier and busier and the stills operate on electricity, so it’s basically 80 gallons of blueberry liquid and it takes so much energy. I ran it every day for a solid month to get caught up, nearly 10 hours a day. Our power bill was stupid expensive and I thought—hold on a second—this isn’t going to work,” ruminated Butenschoen.

It was then and there that the Butenschoens started looking into ways to save money for their business, and they landed on an innovative practice: making the switch to clean energy.

Those deliberations led them to a sunlit evening in May 2019, when Shawn took a break from chores to put on a safety harness and climb a ladder to the roof of the distillery as workers from Bellingham’s Ecotech Solar finished installing a 10 kW solar array that will mean an estimated savings of nearly $1,200 annually.

The solar array was facilitated by the Rural Energy Development for Washington Program and made possible by a REAP grant from USDA Rural Development, which covered 25% of the cost of the Butenschoens’ project.

Shawn hopes the solar power will be a breakthrough for the family business come late August or September when he fires up the still and Mariah and the boys go back to school.

“I haven’t gone back to work turning wrenches, so thumbs up, if you know what I mean. I don’t really care what happens as long as we can continue doing this. Right now I’d be working 16 hours a day for someone else, with my wife dealing with the farm. That’s pretty tough. If you are your own business that can sustain itself, that’s all that matters.” said Shawn.

While Shawn touts the financial benefits of solar, Mariah believes the family’s solar array will boost the business in other ways, too: “Those panels will be good for our business, and for our clientele, it will be awesome! I think our customers will be really pleased.”

The Butenschoens, proud in the work of their farm and business, humbly add: “We’re thinking about our environment, our world, and our community.”

Probably Shouldn't Apple Brandy

Probably Shouldn’t Cocktail Recipes

You’ve got a bottle of Probably Shouldn’t, now it’s time to put it to good use! Do your best mixologist impression on and try out these delicious cocktails.

Blueberry Pie Martini

4 oz Probably Shouldn’t Blueberry Pie Liqueur

Shaving of Lime or Lemon

Graham Crackers Crumbs or Brown Sugar

Pour the Probably Shouldn’t Blueberry Pie Liqueur into a martini shaker filled with ice. Add a generous shaving of lime or lemon zest. Shake 25 – 30 seconds. Pour into a chilled glass. Try with a graham cracker crumb or brown sugar rimmed glass. Garnish with lime.


2 oz. Probably Shouldn’t Apple Brandy

3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

3/4 oz Grand Marnier

Pour all ingredients into ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake well and strain into chilled, sugar-rimmed glass.

Stone Fence

2 oz Probably Shouldn’t Apple Brandy

2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

1/2 – 3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

4 – 6 oz Fresh Apple Cider

Pour brandy and bitter into a chilled old fashioned glass filled with ice, top with 4 – 6 oz cider. Stir.


2 oz Probably Shouldn’t Blueberry Brandy

5 – 10 Fresh Mint Leaves

Fresh Blueberries

Several Lime Wedges

1 – 2 tbsp Simple Syrup

Club Soda

Muddle the mint and lime in a highball glass. Fill with ice and add simple syrup, Probably Shouldn’t Blueberry Brandy, and top with club soda. Stir. Garnish with fresh mint and a few fresh blueberries/

For an even more decadent drink, substitute champagne for the club soda.


probably shouldn't winter cocktails

Winter Cocktail Recipes

It’s easy to enjoy Probably Shouldn’t brandy in the winter! The liquor’s head warming qualities are a simple (and fun) way to chop some dollars off your heating bill. We’ve spent some of these cold nights mixing up a series of cocktails to celebrate the season. We hope you enjoy.

Send us any of you own recipes and we may feature them in our blog.


Blueberry Tea

1/2 oz Probably Shouldn’t Blueberry Pie Liqueur

1/2 oz Amaretto

3/4 oz Grand Marnier

4 oz Early Grey Tea

Pour first three ingredients into a warmed glass. Top with tea. Garnish with an orange wheel and cinnamon stick.

Norman Mule

1 1/2 oz Probably Shouldn’t Apple Brandy

Lemon or Lime Wedge

A Dash of Angostura Bitters

6 oz Ginger Beer (or Ginger Ale)

Fill mug with ice. Add Probably Shouldn’t Apple Brandy, lemon, and top with ginger beer. Stir and serve.

Apple Old Fashioned

1 1/2 oz Probably Shouldn’t Apple Brandy

1 tsp Maple Syrup

3 Dashes of Angostura Bitters

Splash of Water

Orange or Green Apple Wedge

In an old fashioned glass, stir together the maple syrup and bitters. Add ice, then add the Probably Shouldn’t Apple Brandy with a splash of water. Stir well and garnish with an orange wedge or green apple wedge.

Spike Hot Apple Cider

Probably Shouldn’t Apple Brandy

4 Cups Apple Cider

1 Cinnamon Stick

1 Orange Round

3 Whole Cloves

1 Star Anise

On the stovetop, bring cider, orange and spices to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain into a pitcher. To make one drink, mix 2 oz Probably Shouldn’t Apple Brandy with 6 oz cider mix.


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