As of Tuesday, November 28, 2017
The founding member of the Oregon craft spirits scene, Clear Creek Distillery will move its operations from Portland to Hood River in the first half of 2018. This move brings Clear Creek Distillery closer to the source of its signature Pear and Pear-in-Bottle Brandies.
“Our pear brandy is distilled exclusively from pears grown and picked in the Hood River Valley, so we’re excited to be in the midst of this great fruit,” said Jeanine Racht, Clear Creek National sales manager, who has been with Clear Creek more than 10 years. “While Portland will always be a part of us, the move to Hood River allows us to expand capacity and support our growth objectives.”
Clear Creek was founded in 1985 by Steve McCarthy, who started making eau-de-vie (fruit brandy) with pears from his family’s Hood River Valley farm. He envisioned using fruits of the Pacific Northwest to create spirits that rivaled the best of their European counterparts. Countless awards and accolades in the 30 years since have affirmed Clear Creek’s position among the world’s finest fruit distilleries.
Clear Creek’s spirits have always embodied the bounty of the Pacific Northwest, stated a press release. Clear Creek began from pear-picking roots in the Hood River Valley, but expanded its portfolio to an award-winning array of brandies, liqueurs and grappas created from the Northwest’s finest fruit.
Clear Creek’s Portland tasting room will host its final day of tastings, tours and sales on Dec. 31. Portland distillery operations will wrap up in January 2018, as Clear Creek — purchased by Hood River Distillers in 2014 — transitions from Portland to Hood River. The new distillery will begin operations in the Spring of 2018.
Clear Creek Head Distiller Joe O’Sullivan and Distiller Caitlin Bartlemay will continue making signature Clear Creek spirits.
Clear Creek will be exploring new tasting room options in the Rose City; in the meantime, visit the Hood River Distillers tasting room, located on Oak Street in downtown Hood River, which has sampled and sold Clear Creek products since 2015. Clear Creek’s new Hood River distillery will not be open to the public.
The story comes full circle for O’Sullivan, who worked for Clear Creek from 2005-2010 and returned to the company in early 2017 to help complete the new distillery in Hood River.
“I’ve always felt a part of Clear Creek, even when I left in 2010,” said O’Sullivan. “Caitlin and I are excited to get to work in Hood River. It is really exciting moving to the Gorge, with more direct access to the wonderful bounty of pears and other raw materials that are the basis of our distillery.”
Clear Creek’s new distillery will be located adjacent to pear orchards and not far from Clear Creek, the distillery’s namesake.