Bendistillery soon to be… distilling

Crater Lake VodkaWhat I find most surprising about the Bulletin’s Sunday article on Bendstillery (behind the paywall, unfortunately) is that Bendistillery hasn’t actually been distilling alcohol this whole time. From the beginning of the article:

Since 1996, Bendistillery Inc. has produced its vodka and gin — filtered five times through crushed Central Oregon lava rock and mixed with fresh local water and other ingredients.

But it has never actually distilled the alcohol that comprises the backbone of the company’s products, at least not for mass consumption. The company doesn’t hide the fact, said Alan Dietrich, the company’s CEO; it’s just not something the employees actively promote.

Bendistillery buys 190-proof alcohol, sometimes known as ethanol or neutral-grain spirits, from a large manufacturer to make its products, Dietrich said.

That’s about to change.

This week, Bendistillery will take up the role of a full-bore distiller, making gin from ingredients exclusively found on the company’s 23-acre farm, such as winter wheat, Dietrich said. It should hit shelves by the holidays.

I always just assumed that with every other advertised step of their process (filtering the vodka through lava rock, gathering juniper berries for the gin by hand, building a larger distillery out in Tumalo) that distilling their own spirit was part of that. It seems very odd to me that that wasn’t in fact the case.

But! I’m glad they’re all set to start producing spirits themselves. You can get a lot more character and control over the process doing it in-house, and do more interesting things as well, something that you can see with the other local distillery, Oregon Spirit Distillers (also mentioned in the article, and who does distill all their own spirits in-house). In that vein, I think it will be very interesting to do a side-by-side tasting of Crater Lake Vodka that’s distilled in-house against the Vodka that’s from another company’s spirit.

5 thoughts on “Bendistillery soon to be… distilling

  1. Anyone interested in seeing a Kothe 100 gallon all copper still kicking out some spirits. please come down and visit me this Saturday from 12 to 5pm. I will also be mashing in more wheat whiskey, And we have 5 other 200 gallon ferments going. 490 butler mrk rd. Jon, distiller Oregon Spirit Distillers. Did I mention free tastings?

  2. Oregon Spirit products are delicious! Proprietor Brad Irwin takes this artisan craft very seriously, and does a damn fine job doing it. 4 or 5 different products hand crafted onsite from locally grown ingredients. a gracious and generous family business doing things with integrity and from the grain. worth checking out for sure.

  3. It’s the ‘dirty little secret’ of the liquor industry that a lot of folks don’t produce their own spirit. They purchase bulk grain alcohol, filter it and bottle it and market it as though it were an authentic product of their own. I feel like it’s an important distiction between those who are cutting corners to save money and those who have taken the time and invested the money to actually learn the art and science of fermentation and distillation. I have a lot more respect for the people like Oregon Spirit Distillers who are doing it the right way, making local products from local ingredients.

  4. This article is a little misleading. Bendistillery has always distilled. They just don’t distill the vodka and gin that has made them so famous. They have a huge private lable side of their business where they make products for other people. On this side of their business is where they distill. I think everyone in the Bend area should go take their FREE tour and tastings so you are not spreading misinformation.

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