We recently received a post about an upcoming hearing about a new Minnesota craft distilling law. Washington has recently passed their craft distilling law. Will Oregon following other state in passing a craft distilling law?
Thank you for posting this post! I haven't been swept up with spirits.
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Your idea coincides with mine.and I think it's better.
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After a year and a half of hard work, Highball Distillery will be introducing Elemental Vodka next week!
I founded Highball Distillery with my partner Michael Heavener. As we discussed what kind of a business we wanted to start we identified a few requirements. We wanted to build a business that purchased raw ingredients and produced a finished product. We wanted to build a company that operated in a responsible way, a business that participated in and supported the local economy. Finally it had to be a business we could be excited about.
We decided to produce an Organic Wheat Vodka. Our Wheat is purchased from local grain miller Bob's Red Mill. Our Vodka is produced using 100% wind energy. We craft our product from scratch.
Every bottle of vodka contains more then 2 lbs of grain. When you purchase a macro-distilled commercial vodka, you are supporting industrial agriculture (ADM, Cargill, etc). Our product provides an option for consumers who demand the highest quality product and want to support business that is striving to find a better way.
This is Tom from New Deal Distillery, and I'm looking forward to hearing Steve and Christian talk about where the local distilling is going tomorrow. We've been around since 2004, and even in that short time, its amazing how much growth there has been in the local distillation scene.
But I wanted to add to Michael's (from Highball Distillery) comment about the role local distilleries play in the local economy. We were inspired by the micro-brews, and more recently, Stumptown and the local chocolatiers. We want to add to the list of hand-crafted products that are made here, but as good as anything in the world. We hope the success of our industry inspires more people to keep creating here, and realizing you can do almost anything ('cause it just makes this a better city to live in).
And congrats to Highball for making in happen!
Hi Dan. Here is a story Bill Owens of the American Distillers Institute posted about the Oregon craft distilling scene for his weekly distilling newsletter in January a year ago. A lot has happened since then with new distilleries coming into production, but it gives you a sense of this point in time in our history..
D�j� vu with Oregon micro-distilleries
There is a sense of D�j� vu going on in Oregon. After two decades, it's happening again. In the last half of the eighties, the ?good beer? movement took hold in the quest for a better beer. Staring in the seventies, the Oregon wine industry put its roots down in the Willamette Valley. By the nineties, there were hundreds of small wineries making wine that rivaled the Old World. Here in the 21?st Century, small scale artisan-made distilled spirits are poised to remake the Oregon beverage landscape like its siblings, beer and wine.
On a recent trip to Portland American Distillers Institute pooh-bah Bill Owen was lead on a Portland metro area distillery tour from Troutdale to McMinnville in search of magic elixirs. Oregon has experienced a Renaissance in wine and beer making and now it is also undergoing a minor explosion in distilling. In the United States there are eighty-eight craft distilleries and Oregon leads the pack with nine with another four distilleries set to open in 2007. Only California, and Michigan have more craft distilleries. The July 2006 edition of GQ Magazine featured a story on the Portland distilling scene calling them ?The New Bootleggers?. In October 2007 Food & Wine magazine wrote about all the distilleries making whiskey in Oregon. Clearly something is going on here.
Here are a few of the players.
Brandy Peak, located in the Southern Oregon coastal town of Bandon is the nation?s only wood-fired distillery and has produced grappa and brandies for years. Portland based Clear Creek is the granddaddy of Oregon craft distillers with 20 years in the business, making world-class Pear brandy and a line-up that includes eau-de-vie flavored with Douglas Fir to whiskey made with Widmer Brothers grains. These guys know how to distill fruit and retain the flavors. Central Oregon?s Bendistillery produces gin using local high desert juniper berries and lava filtered vodka for its tasting room and national distribution. The newest generation of craft distilleries includes House Spirits, New Deal, Rogue, Ransom Spirits, Indio, Dolmen and of course, McMenamins Edgefield Distillery, located in Troutdale.
Flavored vodka producer Indio Spirits has shifted their production from Portland to Cottage Grove where Side Pocket operate a distillery, cocktail mix production and bonded space for importers of various spirits. A new distillery named Highball has leased the former Indio space in Southeast Portland and is currently working on their TTB permit. Fermented honey distiller Dolmen and fellow distillery Sub Rosa are looking for larger digs out in Yamhill County but with dozens and dozens of wineries in the area, older buildings suitable for production and even a hip tasting room are hard to find. Integrity Spirits will occupy the old Yamhill Pub space in the heart of Southeast Portland by summertime. Looks like a distilling zone is emerging in Southeast Portland with House Spirits, New Deal, Highball and Integrity Spirits all angling for a piece of the pie.
The product of choice that many new craft distillers started with is vodka. It?s relatively easy to produce and though supposedly flavorless, Oregon distillers added their own subtle twists by filtering the spirits through huge tubes of activated charcoal like the Russian distilleries, or through crushed lava rock and limestone; all in search of a subtle flavors and smoothness. Indio Spirits has four flavored vodkas; a marionberry, a lemongrass/lime, a blood orange, a wasabi plus a straight up neutral vodka. After a few dozen variants, Rogue House of Spirits in Newport, Ore. is about to introduce their wasabi/ginger vodka. House Spirits started with its very smooth Medoyeff Vodka. New Deal has three levels of vodka including their Hot Monkey pepper vodka. This summer Sub Rosa Spirits is introducing a delightfully herbal and light Tarragon vodka and a boldly spiced Saffron vodka that is as complex as a gin, with eight spices blended to make a distillate that echoes both India and Asia. Both are 90 proof Molecular gastronomy meets ethanol alchemy. These flavored vodkas make exciting drinks, but are good simply over ice as well.
It?s not all about vodka though. Oregon craft distilleries are making grappa, gins, brandies, whiskeys, eau-de-vies and rums. Of particular note is House Spirits Krogstad Aquavit with a touch of caraway, anise and cardamom. Exquisite. Rogue Spirits Dark Rum is quite nice, more akin to bourbon than rum in many ways and has picked up a number of awards and rave reviews; and Dolmen Distillery?s Worker Bee is one of the few commercially distilled meads in the world. This rare distillate carries a hint of white flowers and honey, but with a nice blast of fire at the end. Local distillers are also working on whiskeys using all Oregon ingredients. Oregon barley, fermented and distilled and put into Oregon oak barrels. Oregon is becoming somewhat of an incubator for rum distilleries, with 4 distilleries producing decent dark rum.
Distillers are adding local juniper berries or spruce bows to their gin to make a product with a unique regional story. Look for Absinthe like products, more rum, extreme juniper gins and exotic flavored vodkas from these distillers in the new year.
I am a local home brewer and am interesting in all sorts of hand crafted products like wine, cheese, bread, mead, Sake' and so on. I have tried my hand at beer, sake', brie, bread and would love to try some distilled spirits. But...
Bart Stupak, congressman from Michigan, has introduced a bill in the house, HR 3949, to legalize home distilling but he needs a co-sponsor. I have contacted several groups looking for support of Bart bill, Including our own David Wu (who did not even reply) but have not found much. I would love to see craft distilling take off as a hobbie, what else can we do to make this happen?
Mike Sherwood, thanks so much for alerting us about the "Deja Vu with Oregon Microdistilleries" article. We've taken down your comment because it's not our policy to have entire articles copied and pasted in the comments section, but we appreciate the heads up. Everyone can read the article here
Good morning. I like to just help fuel the discussion this morning by referring you to our site, http://www.burningstill.com/. There you'll find an exclusive focus on craft distilling, laws, politics and of course the products.
We're based in Portland metro area and our coverage frequently focuses on Oregon and Washington. We think Oregon and Washington are leading the craft distilling movement.
Thanks and have a great day.
The Burning Still team.
One of the most exciting and delicious new additions to the Oregon scene is artisan hard apple cider. There are a few excellent cideries in the state and they are starting to build an industry based on cooperation and principles of sustainability which is making quite a splash outside the state. One of the best is Wandering Aengus (www.wanderingaengus.com) I've attempted to attach a Wall Street Journal article on Oregon Ciders. I hope it comes through.
Oregon has a much longer history in spirits than most people realize. Hood River Distillers began in 1935 by distilling fruit grown in Hood River. As the story goes, the founders watched as seagulls and other birds were getting drunk at the leftover piles of fruit at the cannery, and they thought, "Maybe we have something here". Hood River Distillery was soon born.
Today Hood River Distillers is the largest spirits company west of the rockies. They produce Pendleton Whisky (among others), it is the fastest growing whisky in the US.
Pendleton Whiskey (note: American whiskeys are spelled with an "ey" and Scotch
whiskys are spelled without) is a fast-growing brand but hardly the fastest. It might be in the top ten but I don't think so as its distribution is limited. The fastest growing whiskey in the last 3-4 years has been Bulliet, which is also, in this author's opinion, a far superiour whiskey (bourbon, actually.)
Great topic today!
As a minor note, there is a long history of distilling in Oregon and the Portland/Vancouver metro area. As the historian at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, this is one of the more interesting "firsts" claimed at the fort that I look forward to researching more...the first distilling venture in the Oregon Country.
Yes, in addition to a successful brewing venture, the Hudson's Bay Company had a distillery on the waterfront at Fort Vancouver for many years. It was a fairly large building, 132' x 18'. Today, there are several restaurants along the Columbia River waterfront in this original location...little do they know they're serving spirits in a place where they were believed to be first distilled in the area!
Spirits and the Hudson's Bay Company had a love/hate relationship, and to be brief the HBC sought to control the production and distribution of alcohol. That did not keep wily American immigrants and British Navy deserters from distilling their own homemade "hooch" in the 1840s, resulting in several colorful tales which I'd be happy to share.
Anyway, the point is that, indeed, there is a long history of distilling spirits in the Oregon Country.
Chief Ranger & Historian
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
Northwest Cultural Resources Institute
My name is Stuart Ramsay and I'm a drinks journalist based here in Portland. I've written about microdistilleries in books and magazines. My website, Ramsays Dram, explores the culture of drink.
I believe this is the best time in history to be a drinker in terms of the variety and quality available, and Oregon's distillers are contributing to this in no small way.
Like the microbreweries, our distillers are re-discovering a cornucopia of spirits, often adding their own regional signature.
Our local distillers are not held back by tradition as in Scotland and Kentucky. We have a sophisticated consumer base, a healthy, innovative bar culture. I was talking to to a kentucky distiller last week and asked him what he wanted to see on my website. His reply: "More information and news about Oregon microdistilleries. That's where the excitement is."
David mentions again "Bend Brews" along with the revolution" in oregon microdistilled spirits, ignoring (again) the city with the most breweries in the World, Portland Oregon. We have 32 breweries within the Portland area, and why we are often ignored by OPB still mystifies me.
Another brewery worker,
I found Rogue Spirits Spruce Gin by accident at the liquor store in Lincoln City. I went in for Tanqueray or Bombay, but changed my mind when I saw the Rogue. I love Rogue beer so I figured the gin must be good. BY FAR the best Gin I've ever tasted. It has a very clean flavor.
I've been unable to find it in Portland, but I've only checked 3 liquor stores.
I look forward to trying the Aviator Gin.
My name is Mel and I'm the soon-to-be-distiller at Rogue Ales in Portland. You can buy our gin on site at 1339 NW Flanders. Come in for a sample of our rums too! Cheers,
Hi there. Mike Sherwood here with Sub Rosa Spirits. Another one of the young turk distillers here in Oregon. I make two culinary inspired vodkas. A Tarragon anda Saffron infused vodka. I cut my teeth making wine at the Sineann winery, then we recruited by Rogue to run their rum distillery and build them a new distillery on the coast.
My two infusions are made from fresh herbs and spices, hence the true flavors and natural colors. Each of 8 spices are infused separately for the Saffron and then blended. Part culinary art, part alchemy. The Tarragon uses fresh tarragon leaves, a wee dram of fennel and a touch of mint.
The Saffron vodka has notes of toasted cumin on the nose, a lemony mid-palate of coriander wrapped in the aromatics of saffron with grace notes of ginger, black peppercorn and red chilies. This infused vodka is as complex as a gin with 8 spices making up a m�lange that echoes India and Asia.
I make these distillates one 50 case lot at a time. Each bottle is identified by a batch number and year produced. They are available in Oregon, Washington state, California, Washington DC and soon in France.
My new distillates are part of the movement towards culinary inspired cocktails and are made to mix. http://www.subrosaspirits.com
Jamie Boudreau formerly of the Vessel bar in Seattle liked 'em : Since the bottles say that they are vodka, I guess I?ve got to believe it, but I?d want to give these spirits a different classification altogether, as they are that unique. http://spiritsandcocktails.wordpress.com/2007/10/23/sub-rosa-the-magic-esdragon/
As the owner of a Portlan design firm/advertising agency, I'm constantly doing work for small clients inside and outside Oregon that have trouble getting their product in Oregon. Other states are much easier for them to approach and launch a product in. I would like to hear from Jim at the OLCC how he would suggest my clients approach the OLCC to launch their products in Oregon.
President | Creative Director
IGNITE | Advertising and Design
I am originally from Germany (where a lot of local farmers distill their own brandy and pay tax with the "Vorlauf"). I was very pleased to find Clear Creek Distillery with some really good brandys right in my neighborhood (NW Portland). I encourage anybody to go to their tasting room to try some of their brandys and grappas.
Where can I find a ;isting of the distilleries in Oregom???
Hreat content today.
As a staffer at Portland-based national drinks magazine, Imbibe (http://www.imbibemagazine.com), we are always hearing from local and far-flung readers about actually visiting the distilleries in our state. Just last week I ran into a reader in San Francisco who was glowing about a recent visit to Clear Creek. Reading about the people behind the bottle and things like craft distillery tours offer imbibers a connection to the story behind every sip they take, which is an intimate experience big producers can't offer. And with 30+ distillers in the state, Oregon can and will benefit from this form of culinary tourism. We're just lucky it's so close to home!
Great job on the show today, everyone.
A Google search turned up this list from a shop in Maryland of all places:
This is our list of distilleries in the U.S.:
This is only a fraction of the distilleries in Oregon and Washington. I hope you find the list helpful.
Here's a list of the Oregon distillers. Not sure how the count of 30 distilleries came about though. My count is 17, but there should be 20 by years end. There are a half dozen others in the planning stage.
1227 SE Stark St.
Portland, OR 97214
1470 NE 1st Street, #800
Bend, OR 97701
Jim Bendis - CEO
Alan Dietrich - National Sales Manager
Brandy Peak Distillery
18526 Tetley Road
David Nowlin - Distiller
Cascade Peak Spirits
P.O. Box 1198
Ashland, Oregon 97520
Diane Paulson - CEO
David Eliasen - Vice Pres./Distiller
Clear Creek Distillery
2389 NW Wilson Street
Portland, OR 97210
Stephen McCarthy ? Owner / Presidente
P.O. Box 732
McMinnville, Oregon 97128
Anders Johansen - Distiller
610 SE 10th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
2025 SE 7th
Portland, Oregon 97214
Lee Medoff - Commissar
Christian Krogstad - Sales & Marketing
Hood River Distillery
660 Riverside Drive
Hood River, OR 97031
Rob Van Volkinburg - Northwest Sales Manager
Indio Spirits Inc.
7110 SW Fir Loop Suite 240
Tigard, Oregon 97223
John Ufford - CEO and head pooh-bah
Bob Turner - Sales and Marketing
909 SE Yamhill
Portland, Oregon 97214
Kieran Sienkiewicz ? Distiller
Rich Phillips ? Sales and Marketing
Warren, OR 97053
McMenamins Edgefield Distillery
2126 S.W. Halsey
Troutdale, OR 97060
503.669.8610 ext 344
New Deal Distillery
Portland, OR 97214
Moving to new digs soon.
845 NE 5th St.
McMinnville, OR 97128
Tad Seestedt - Distiller / Winemaker
Distillery in Portland. Winery in McMinnville.
1339 NW Flanders
Portland, Oregon 97209
Gary Fleshman ? Distillery Manager
John Couchot ? Newport Distiller
Sub Rosa Spirits
2025 SE 7th
Portland, Oregon 97214
Mike Sherwood - Distiller / Owner
Office is in Dundee. Distillery is in Portland.
While I am mostly a winedrinker, we always have some Clear Creel product in the cabinet and tried the new Oregon Gins. Clear Creek also rescued our favorite backing subject: Black Forest Cake. Until I found the 'Kirschwasser' we had to deal we inferior Schnapps products (brrr), but soaking the cream and cherries in Kirschwasser first makes a cake just like my mother's. The name leads me to a thought on naming the products: Everybody knows the European winemakers beef with wine names like 'Burgundy', 'Rhine', 'Chablis'.
So I am a little ambivalent towards using the European names prominantly on the label, vs saying 'Oregon Cherry Brandy' and in smaller print 'Kirschwasser' or 'Eau de Vie Style', whatever the case may be. Finally I am miffed about the OLCC rules on these products: They should be treated like wine and beer; after all we are not dealing we rut-gut here and I can not see the average alcoholic running around with $30/$40 Oregon spirits scaring the daylights out of the onlooking public.
Wolfgang Sailler, Salem
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