He is the co-owner and distiller of the Wildwood Sprits Co. located in Bothell, Washington. Wildwood Spirits Co. produces craft spirits using a local farm to distillery approach. Much of the inspiration for Wildwood is derived from Erik's upbringing in East Lansing, Michigan. The name, Wildwood, is the street where Erik grew up and the spirits were first created at Michigan State University where Erik is also a graduate. Wildwood Spirits Co., Vodka, Stark Vatten, Gin, Kur, and Bourbon, The Dark Door have received critical international acclaim including Best in Show at the 2014 & 2017 World Wine and Spirits Competition in New York and Top 10 Spirit of The Year from Wine & Spirits Magazine and Double Gold Medal in the 2018 San Francisco International Spirits Competiton.
Erik is also the Company Wine Director/Partner for the John Howie Restaurant Group in Seattle, Washington. Erik’s wine lists have received numerous awards including Best New Wine List in America by Food and Wine Magazine, Best Wine List in Seattle by seattle.citysearch.com and Best of Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator magazine. Erik was named Sommelier of the Year in 2012 by Seattle magazine as well as Sommelier of the Year in 2004 by the Washington Wine Commission/Seattle Times and was the 2006 recipient of the Seattle Times Walter Clore Award for outstanding achievement in the wine industry. Erik was also the 2014 winner of the International "Somm Slam" competition at the International Chefs Congress in New York. Erik is also the only certified Coffee Sommelier in the Pacific Northwest.
Erik’s experience includes Director of Food and Beverage at the Elliott Grand Hyatt Seattle and as General Manager of the Pacific’s Edge restaurant at the Highland’s Inn -Park Hyatt Carmel, California; a restaurant named by Wine Spectator magazine as one of the Top Twenty Restaurants in the United States. Erik is also an accomplished chef who has cooked alongside such culinary luminaries as Gordon Ramsay, Eric Ripert, Takashi Yagahashi and the late Jean-Louis Paladin and Julia Child.
He is a Cum Laude graduate and Honorary Faculty member at Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality Business. In addition, he was the youngest member ever to be inducted into the Chicago chapter of Les Amis d’Escoffier, he is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, The Sommelier Society of America and Advanced Level Sommelier (Level III) and a Certified Distiller from the London based Institute of Brewing and distilling. Erik’s expertise is featured in many news papers and magazines both locally and nationally including Food and Wine, Sunset, Gourmet, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Erik was also featured in a PBS documentary that was focused on Washington wine.
When Erik isn’t pouring wine he is spending time with his wife Zoey, cooking, running, cycling or getting into trouble with their daughters Edie and Gigi.
John Howie is chef and proprietor of some of the Seattle Area’s most prominent restaurants. Recognized as a leading culinary vanguard in the Pacific Northwest, Howie was nominated Outstanding Restaurateur by the James Beard Foundation Awards in 2013.
Chef Howie’s restaurants, ranging from casual, honest cooking establishments to fine dining, are renowned for infusing innovation into evolving seasonal menus. Since opening his first establishment in March 2002, Chef Howie has insisted on partnering with only the best regional farmers and providers to serve his guests the highest quality, sustainable meat and seafood with fresh locally sourced produce and ingredients.
When Chef Howie and business partner Erik Liedholm conceptualized Wildwood Spirits Co., they knew the distillery would be established with the same philosophy in mind. By blending farm-to-table and vineyard-to-bottle, they employed a distinctive farm-to-distillery concept resulting in the highest honors from the top spirits competitions in the world.
In addition to Wildwood Spirits Co., the John Howie Restaurant Group includes: Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar (Bellevue), John Howie Steak (Bellevue), SPORT Restaurant & Bar (Seattle), Beardslee Public House (Bothell) and In.gredients (Redmond – Microsoft campus).