Deschutes Brewery and Bendistillery Release Black Butte Whiskey
(Bend, OR) – Deschutes Brewery and Bendistillery today announced the much anticipated launch of Black Butte Whiskey. Created over the past three years, this malt whiskey was double distilled from the wash of Deschutes Brewery’s flagship beer, Black Butte Porter. Available in very limited quantities, this sipping whiskey can be found starting today at the brewery’s two public houses, Bendistillery’s tasting room and Oregon liquor stores only.
Jim Bendis, founder of Bendistillery, said, “The origin of this project was nearly 20 years ago when I distilled and barreled a small batch of Deschutes’ Black Butte Porter beer as an experiment. We all kind of forgot about it until we ran across that original barrel when we moved the distillery. Tasting that spirit is what really inspired us to collaborate with Deschutes to produce a whiskey we could share with everybody. It brings happy tears to my eyes witnessing a 20-year-old dream come to fruition!”
Gary Fish, founder and CEO of Deschutes Brewery said, “The whiskey was more about an opportunity to innovate at a new level by elevating the beer and creating a very different product altogether. This is what can happen when you’re having fun and not bound by convention!”
Black Butte Whiskey was aged in new #4 char American oak barrels, and the resulting whiskey retains the malty, chocolatey notes of Black Butte Porter while gaining woody, earthy flavors from the oak. The body is full while the spirit drinks dry and clean. Ryan Schmiege, assistant brewmaster for Deschutes Brewery, said, “The base for this whiskey is very unusual because it is founded on a beer which is comprised of a lot of chocolate malts; not common for whiskey. I liked the challenges we had early on while learning to think, brew and ferment like distillers.”
The whiskey will be served neat or on the rocks at the Deschutes Brewery pubs in Bend and Portland starting today. Bottles are available at Bendistillery and Oregon liquor stores. Because a very limited amount is available, a future release for the next round of Black Butte Whiskey is slated for the end of 2017.
“I think the most exciting part of this project has been the public’s response. We have been able to sample and see how the whiskey develops over the years, so we know how good it is. But to see peoples’ eyes light up when they try it for the first time is the best part,” said Alan Dietrich, CEO of Bendistillery.
Founded in 1996, Bendistillery is one of the nation’s first craft distilleries and is still the most awarded craft distillery in the country. Their flagship Crater Lake Spirits brand are traditional American style gins, vodkas and whiskies all produced at their distillery in Bend, Oregon. www.bendistillery.com