Bull Run Distilling Company (BRD) was founded by acclaimed Portland distiller, Lee Medoff, and business partner Patrick Bernards in the spring of 2010. What began as a "what if" conversation over cocktails a few years ago evolved into a full-on crusade in late 2009. Hundreds of hours, a few business plans and a couple of emptied bank accounts later Bull Run Distilling Company became a reality.
As for the Bull Run watershed itself, it got its name from those who lived near the watershed generations ago. As the story goes, back in the 1850's cattle belonging to pioneers crossing the Cascade Mountain Range broke loose in the area now known as Bull Run. The cattle escaped into the dense forests to live, but people in the area occasionally saw them running along the local river and lake where they would come to graze and drink. Consequently, the locals began referring to these bodies of water as Bull Run River and Bull Run Lake - and the names stuck.
Bull Run Distilling Company (BRD) was founded by Portland natives Lee Medoff and Patrick Bernards in the spring on 2010. At present, they comprise Bull Run Distilling Company.
Lee Medoff - Lee is the mastermind behind Bull Run Distilling Company. It was his 13 years of distilling experience, his knowledge of what is a very complex industry and his passion for dark, craft spirits that enabled the idea of BRD to become reality. From the beginning, Lee spoke of creating a distillery that excelled in every aspect of the business. As Lee is a tireless perfectionist and pioneer you can be sure that our company and its products will exceed your greatest expectations.
Patrick Bernards - Patrick is the sales and marketing piece of the equation, or as he likes to call himself, the Chief Enthusiast. For Patrick, Bull Run Distilling Company represented the opportunity to finally take his more than 20 years of "Corporate America" business experience and put it to work doing something he is truly passionate about; building a business that will produce some of the finest craft spirits in the world. Prior to launching Bull Run Distilling Company with Lee, Patrick had worked for Fortune 500 companies as well as virtually unknown startups. He's an entrepreneur at heart so he's right at home blazing new trails on the craft sprits frontier.
While BRD may not be a deep organization, what they lack in time and ability they make up for in effort and desire. Actually, Lee and Patrick are fortunate to have the help and support of a highly experienced Board of Advisors and a handful of fiercely dedicated business partners, all of whom have BRD's and its customers best interest in mind.
BRD looks for raw ingredients for both Rum and Whiskey with an eye not only for quality, but for inspiration. It's people that grow sugar cane and barley in some specific place and every person and everyplace has a story. That's why at BRD we source the story as much as we source quality. Our newly released Organic Pacific Rum is made from organic cane juice from a region of South America known for having some of the best sugar cane in the world. Our future Hawaiian Pacific Rum will be made from Hawaiian, turbinado cane sugar because as West Coasters we have a physical and mental connection to the Hawaiian Islands. Our Whiskey is made from the same northwest grains that power the bold Ales of the Pacific Northwest. Proof you don't have to look too far for a good story or for the best quality available anywhere.
At BRD we are committed to producing only the finest quality products; a quality we believe you can only get from pot stills. The fact that they we designed our pot stills ourselves and had them locally built makes them all the better. BRD employs traditional double distillation to perfect its Rum and Whiskey. The unstable fermented wash is distilled and turned into stable but unrefined spirit. The second distillation crystallizes the rough spirit but only the brightest, most focused flavors from the "heart" of the run are captured. Only the heart cut can qualify for BRD Rum and Whiskey destined for barrel and bottle.
Barrels are tools for the distiller to create greater nuance and depth to his spirits. Think about it, dark aged spirits spend most of their life in a barrel in a specific environment so the type of barrel and where it is aged plays a significant role in the finished product. At BRD we design a barrel-aging program for each spirit to bring out its singular style.
BRD Rum and Whiskey are produced in a batch process and they will be bottled in batches. Each fermentation and each distillation has a life of its own and when the spirit fills a barrel a whole other journey begins. At the end of the aging process most distilleries blend for spot-on consistency, but not at BRD. Like craft wine makers and their fine wines, we much prefer to embrace the subtle differences between batches, allowing each batch to show the best it has to offer. Besides, we'd get bored drinking the same exact spirit year after year and we think you would too.
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Bull Run Distillery is located in a beautiful 7000 sq. ft. barrel-roofed building built in 1955. In what was then a low-cost warehouse district NW Portland, the building was home to a paper products company (think Dunder Mifflin) for decades. When we first laid eyes on 2259 NW Quimby it was love at first sight. From its perfect location along Portland's popular NW 23rd Ave shopping and dining district, to the exposed hardwood rafters and ideal layout, the building had everything we needed to create amazing craft spirits...and an amazing experience for our visitors. When our renovation is complete in late December of 2010, the distillery will have a combination tasting room & retail shop that will be open to the public on a regular basis. The distillery will also be open for scheduled tours so fans of our products can see first-hand how the spirits they love are created.
Yes, we're in NW Portland, but the specific area that Bull Run Distillery is located in has been known as "Slabtown" since the 1880's. The story of how this part of town got its name is still disputed today, but many believe that it was because you were likely to end up on a slab, if not on a China-bound ship, if you visited this part of town without a friend or two for protection. Back in the day Slabtown was truly considered to be the underbelly of Portland as it was littered with boardinghouses, saloons, brothels and the sailor's that frequented them all. More than 120 years later Slabtown is going through somewhat of a renaissance, much like its neighbor just to the east, the