We love this gorgeous video showcasing the Oregon Distillery Trail. Each stop is well worth a visit.
The Oregon Distillers Guild is an organization working in behalf of 28 distilleries in the state. Equal parts brotherhood and ipseity, the Guild promotes its growing industry in the beautiful state of Oregon, as well as the individual characteristics that make each distillery unique.
The Portland distilling industry is growing out of its infant stages. One business distinctly on the upswing is Bull Run Distilling Company. Patrick Bernards, a marketing executive, and Lee Medoff, formerly of McMenamins and House Spirits, founded Bull Run in 2010. They produce vodka, gin, rum, aquavit, and whiskey, including bourbon, rye, and Oregon whiskey (more on this later). At any given time they also have a number of extremely small batch infusions and other experiments going on.
Boasting the largest stills (800 gallons) west of the Rockies, Bull Run Distillery is serious about becoming a major player not only in the local spirits market but the national scene as well. Enthusiasm for Bull Run products is high from Portland to Chicago to Boston, all due to their focus on quality, history, design, and storytelling.
Bull Run has a traditional production process, but their creativity shines in how they use a variety of barrels to add unique flavors and aromas to their products, particularly rum and bourbon. Since their focus has always been on dark spirits, we were interested to learn how the Oregon climate affects the aging process. According to Bernards, the mild climate contributes to an active aging process. Because the warehouse rarely, if ever, gets below 48° in the winter, the aging process never goes dormant. Additionally, the lack of humidity reduces the angel’s share.
In addition to his post at Bull Run, Bernards is the president of the Oregon Distillers Guild, an organization working in behalf of 28 distilleries in the state. One of its goals is to write and pass legislation creating a new category of whiskey, Oregon whiskey. The product would have a legal definition (e.g. bourbon regulation) and would stipulate the use of local grains, water, and barrels. We’re looking forward to seeing where this effort goes.
We’ll save our review of Bull Run’s bourbons for another day, but we will say now that they—and all the Bull Run products we tasted—are delicious and well worth adding to your home bar.
Bull Run Distilling Company
Tasting Room Open 12 – 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday
2259 NW Quimby St. Portland, Oregon 97210
You might have noticed the frequency of our posts has slowed down a bit lately. We’d been conserving our bourbon, saving it exclusively for our blog posts and trying to provide recipes for you as long as we could. But now we’re out of bourbon.
Don’t worry, though; it’s only temporary. We’re taking a brief hiatus from There Will Be Bourbon while we make our way back to the Pacific Northwest. We may post a sporadic Weekending post, but for the most part our attention will be directed at getting ourselves settled in Portland, OR. Until then, we hope you’ll find something delicious to enjoy in our archive. We’ll see you on the Best Coast, where there will be bourbon.