Jennifer Stiefel

Fabulous People: Jennifer Stiefel

Jennifer Stiefel is the president and co-founder at Heritage Distilling Company, which was founded in 2011 by Stiefel and her husband, Justin. Today, Heritage Distilling Company is one of the largest craft distilleries on the West Coast and is the largest independently owned craft distillery in Washington. Learn about Jennifer Stiefel…

Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska

First job: As a daughter of two entrepreneurial parents, I’ve had many “first jobs” from working alongside my parents at their laundry mat in Seward, Alaska, to helping my parents clear off snow from the tips of their Cessna float airplane so it wouldn’t sink into the ocean, on very old and snowy nights. I’ve also worked in their fish processing plant, ice pack business and selling reindeer sausage at the Alaska State Fair. I began driving a forklift and loading semi-trucks of ice packs at the age of 12. My first job outside of the family businesses was at Nordstrom, where I further learned the value of good customer service.

Favorite ways to spend your free time in WA: Washington State offers a plethora of experiences from the Puget Sound, where I live and raise my family, offering breathtaking views of majestic mountains to the ocean, to Central and Eastern Washington, where we purchase our grain to make spirits. With all there is to offer, my favorite way to spend time is with family and friends.  

Your biggest accomplishment and why: My children; Tanner, Hudson and Kendall would be my biggest accomplishments. Three of the most amazing humans you will ever meet. And marrying my high school sweetheart, Justin, in 1997, who is my partner in life and business.

The biggest obstacle you overcame: There are obstacles every day. Some are small, and some are big.  But in the end, overcoming what is being thrown at you prepares you for the next obstacle. I’m sure more are coming my way, it’s how you choose to handle those obstacles depends on if you “overcome” them or not.  That is life.

Someone who inspires you and why: My husband, Justin, has inspired me since the day I met him in 1992 at Dimond High School in Anchorage, Alaska. Even at the age of 16, Justin was confident, knowledgeable and steady. His creativity, drive and ambitions to take his ideas and implement them into action always amaze me. He is the kindest person you will ever meet. His spirituality and love of the Lord have led our family for the past 25 years. Justin is passionate about life, doing right by others, making good choices, listening to your true self, being humble and raising children who will lead their families in the same way.  And he is the love of my life!

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: You must have a strong partner, in life and business, by your side to advance in whatever career path you’re choosing. Be honest, faithful and humble. Good things will come with hard work.

Favorite quote: “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: My Norwegian heritage is very important to me. I’ve traveled to Norway several times visiting cousins and learning more about my great grandfather’s journey to America. I’m a member of the Sons of Norway Lodge in Aberdeen, WA, and a board member of the Sister Cities program between Bodo, Norway, and Gig Harbor, WA.

What makes someone fabulous: Loyalty, honesty, spirituality and humor. We all could use a good laugh now and again.

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