SWC Leadership Changes

It is with some sadness but a lot of excitement that we are announcing the Seattle Whiskey Collective leadership is changing hands. Sadness because we have poured our hearts into the SWC over the last four years, but a lot of excitement because Christopher Gronbeck, owner of The Barrel Thief, will be taking over in August 2017.

Christopher has been an amazing partner and host to the SWC over the past year and a half. And in our opinion, transferring the SWC to Christopher is the best possible option for it moving forward in the future with the same vision of building community and tasting amazing whiskey every month. Not to mention, The Barrel Thief has its own event space and is already well-connected with great access to whiskey and spirits—this is a win-win for a whiskey tasting group that is eager to continue trying new things.

Why Now?

The truth is, as time moves on, it has been harder for both of us to provide the level of quality the SWC members deserve every month. We sought out Christopher because he has an incredible knowledge of whiskey (and really all things booze), has a passion for people and the community, and we know he will continue to provide a great experience.

The Future

Not much will change for the Seattle Whiskey Collective on the surface. The meeting time and location will stay the same, as will the membership and pricing. We will still be around as SWC members, although we’ll be sitting and drinking with our new friends instead of running the show. Beyond that, the direction is up to Christopher and we trust his guidance.

A Message from Christopher

The Barrel Thief is proud to continue the Seattle Whiskey Collective's great tradition, and we appreciate Ryan & Mark's vision and leadership all these years. We look forward to having them enjoying the meetings, sitting down with glasses in their hands. We accept the challenge to keep the SWC spirit alive, and to bring you new and interesting whiskeys, each month!

Thank You

There’s a lot of people who deserve thanks over the past four years, and undoubtedly, we’ll leave a few out, but here it goes.

  • Thank you to everyone who has been a monthly member. You’ve always been the reason we worked so hard on the SWC.
  • Thank you to everyone who has visited a monthly meeting.
  • Thank you to all the distillery owners, brand reps, bartenders, and other industry folks who have partnered with us over the years. Our people have loved learning from you.
  • Thank you to our two original founders Mark Weller and Mike Dionne. This thing was a lot more work than we imagined in 2013 and you helped a ton to get it off the ground.
  • Thank you to Christopher and The Barrel Thief team for taking over the SWC. We are thrilled you’d like to continue what we started and we look forward to learning from you in the coming years.
  • And most importantly, thank you to our lovely wives Anna and Pamela. You’ve put up with a lot of late nights out, boxes full of whiskey, blog post editing, and overall stress. You were supportive and loving when it felt like running the SWC was raising a child (until we both actually had children—the real thing is way harder). So thanks for walking through this with us.

If you’re reading this, we’re so thankful that you are connected with the Seattle Whiskey Collective. Whether you were around for a few months or a few years (or if you’ve never made it to one of our events), we appreciate your support and involvement. The community that has been built is by far the best part of the SWC.


We have loved founding, running, and learning about whiskey with this group over the past four years, and we look forward to seeing you around. See you at the next meeting!

Ryan Dorn

Mark Palfreeman