IX Magazine - November, 2011: A HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE FOR FOOD LOVERS
Bull Run Distilling's Temperance Trader Bourbon Whiskey
Whether you're mixing up a Manhattan or you like your bourbon neat, you can now reach for a true bourbon with a Northwest connection: Bull Run Distilling's recently released Temperance Trader bourbon whiskey. Oregon distiller Lee Medoff (formerly of House Spirits) says his Oregon whiskey is still a few years away (it's still aging in charred oak barrels). In the meantime, he acquired a delicious stand-in -- bourbon he handpicked for his Temperance Trader label. Hailing from Kentucky, this high-rye whiskey is velvety smooth with an undertone of burnt sugar and citrus zest. Pour me another. -- ADRIAN J.S. HALE
$30 at area liquor stores.
Oregon Live - September 3, 2010: Lee Medoff is leaving House Spirits, the Oregon craft distillery he co-founded in 2002, to start a new enterprise, Bull Run Distillery, which will specialize in white and dark rum as well as whiskey.
By John Foyston
Lee Medoff has left House Spirits, the Oregon craft distillery he co-founded in 2002, to start Bull Run Distillery, which will specialize in white and dark rum and Medoff's passion: creating the definitive Oregon whiskey.
He and business partner Patrick Bernards have leased a 7,000 square foot building at 2259 N.W. Quimby St. They are now having equipment made for the new distillery, including two 800-gallon stills, which should be installed in October. They hope to begin production before the end of the year, after securing the necessary federal and state licenses.
Bull Run's first product, a white rum made with Hawaiian cane sugar, could be on the market within a couple months after production begins. Also, as part of leaving House Spirits, Medoff retains rights to sell the popular Medoyeff Vodka he developed.
"It was our success at House Spirits with Aviation Gin that made this possible," Medoff said. "It allowed me the opportunity to pursue my passion and it was definitely an amicable split. House Spirits is sailing along pretty fast and I could've just stayed and rested on my laurels or I could leave and do something new."
The Bull Run Distillery will feature a tasting room, retail store and regular tours but the building will be primarily a production facility with fermenter tanks, bottle storage and barrel rooms for aging whiskey and rum. As might be inferred from the stills, which are each twice as big as the single still at House Spirits, Bull Run Distillery is aiming high. Medoff plans to be one of Oregon's largest craft distillers within five years, with a goal of producing 10,000 cases of 750 ml bottles of spirits annually.
"We probably won't ever bottle as much as Hood River Distillers," said Medoff, "but we plan on being big - one thing we learned from House Spirits is that distributors want volume. The first blush of craft distilling, where guys distilled in 15-gallon stills and cramped quarters, is gone and we're into phase two now, and we intend to make a lot of bottles of whiskey and rum."
The white rum will age no more than a month in barrels, just enough to tame it, Medoff says, and will be filtered for clarity. The dark rum will age several months longer in old bourbon barrels and new oak barrels, and will be blended to achieve the desired flavor profile. Whiskey fans will have to wait at least a couple of years to try Medoff's vision of a true Oregon whiskey, because it'll age for at least that long in charred oak barrels.
But he has distinct ideas of what an Oregon whiskey should be, and prime among those is that it be made from malted barley, like most Oregon beers. As he did at House Spirits, Medoff will initially contract with Portland brewers such as Hopworks Urban Brewery and the soon-to-open Burnside Brewing to brew the "wash" - essentially unboiled beer wort - that will be trucked to Bull Run to serve as the basis of the whiskey. Plans call for eventually installing a mash tun at the distillery.
"The two-year-old straight Oregon whiskey will be our workhorse," Medoff said, "and we're toying with the idea of an all-Oregon whiskey: Oregon-grown grain; Oregon water and Oregon barrels."
The business name was chosen in part as homage to the importance of good water to brewing and distilling, and to the quality of Portland's water source. But the name plays well across the country, Medoff says. Even in those places where Bull Run doesn't mean pristine water, it works as a masculine sort of name for robust spirits.
When it's up and running, Bull Run will join Oregon's two dozen micro- and craft distilleries, a roster that make the state a hotbed of small sprits producers, just as it's been led the way in artisan wine and beer production. There are now about 250 craft distillers in the United States.
With more micro-distillers than any other state, we've reached critical mass," said Medoff in 2008, when 16 distillers banded together to form the Oregon Distillers Guild, Inc. with seed money from the Portland Development Commission. Medoff was then president of the guild, which now has 19 members.
Click here to see the original article online.
© 2010 OregonLive.com. All rights reserved.
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NEWS & INFORMATION
Oregon Business Magazine - August 2010: Medoyeff Vodka makes the cover of Oregon Business Magazine! Check out what Lee has to say in this great artilce on craft distillers in Portland.
...Within House Spirits, the most recognized label on Distillery Row, founding owner Lee Medoff is parting ways with Krogstad to open a new distillery called Bull Run Distillery in Northwest Portland. Medoff, a beer brewer before he became a distiller, compares distilleries to craft brewing 20 years ago. Back then passionate but inexperienced brewers over-supplied the market until more focused businesses rose to the top of the barrel.
"The first flush of excitement is leading into a more expansive approach," Medoff says. "Now distillers are saying, ‘I love spirits and I'm going to go do this, but I'm going to go into it with a really good business plan.'"
Read more: Portland craft distillers grow up, evolve - Oregon Business