The List: Orlin Sorensen

Woodinville Whiskey Co-Founder

Before Orlin Sorensen co-founded Woodinville Whiskey with Brett Carlile in 2010, the two were best buds that liked to pull pranks. Sorensen, who used to work as a pilot, would terrorize Carlile over his fear of snakes. As payback, Carlile hid a big rubber snake in his flight bag before work. “I was with the flight crew going through security and the TSA agents requested to search my bag. Try explaining why you have a 3-foot rubber snake in your flight bag in front of everyone,” he said. At the heart of Woodinville Whiskey are two guys who love great spirits with a bit of humor. We quizzed one half of this dynamic duo about what else he enjoys.

favorite places

To relax
Friday night live music at The Fireside in Willows Lodge

For dinner
The Hollywood Tavern

Orlin Sorenson

Photo courtesy Morgan Harris

For a coffee
Mercurys inside Haggen Woodinville

For a drink
Lot No. 3

For breakfast
A good omelet with all the fixings at The Woodinville Café

In Woodinville
Paradise Valley Trails

Inspiration Board

TV show
Martha & Snoop (don’t laugh)

Say Anything

Orlin Sorensen

Photo courtesy Amazon

Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose, about Lewis and Clark

Chris Knight (Southern country/rock)


To travel
Crescent Bar in Central Washington and anywhere in the mountains

Favorite quote
“Life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we react to it.”

Favorite app
Sonos; we just got one, and I love it!

Who inspires you?
My wife

What’s the last thing you googled?
“Youth Basketball Drills” for some new drills to teach my son’s team that I coach


You and co-founder Brett Carlile are friends. What makes him a good business partner?
We’ve known each other since high school, and I am proud to say we’re still best friends after working together for over eight years. We are complete opposites in our strengths and weaknesses, so we are able to divide and conquer without getting in each other’s way.

Woodinville Whiskey was bought by Moët Hennessy last summer; what can we expect going forward?
The incredible thing about Moët Hennessy is their commitment to their brands. They believe everything is about quality and authenticity, and the rest will take care of itself. We will grow, but in a very thoughtful way.

How do you taste whiskey without getting drunk?
Practice! Brett and I are both big guys, so that helps. You don’t need much quantity to taste a whiskey, so being conscious of that is most important.

What’s something unique about Woodinville Whiskey?
Brett and I were taught to make whiskey by Dave Pickerell, former master distiller for Maker’s Mark. All of our grain is grown in Washington. All of our whiskey is 100 percent made and aged in Washington.

How do you drink your Whiskey?
Rocks glass, neat.

is the managing editor at 425 magazine. Email her.
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