Hood River appoints master distiller

Oregon-based Hood River Distillers has promoted Caitlin Bartlemay to the role of master distiller.

Bartlemay was previously a distiller for Oregon-based Clear Creek Distillery, which Hood River purchased in 2014. She was named head distiller for Clear Creek in 2021, having initially joined the brand in 2010.

She will now be tasked with overseeing the production of Hood River’s portfolio, which include McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt, Timberline Vodka, and Clear Creek brandies and eaux-de-vie.

On her new role, Bartlemay said: “It has been a thrill to be a part of the Clear Creek/Hood River Distillers team and to have had the opportunity to share so many wonderful brands with our customers.

“The history of distillation at both Clear Creek Distillery and Hood River Distillers is one that combines pioneering personalities, exceptional products, and phenomenal teamwork.

“Whether we are continuing the legacy of the first American single malt, bottling spirits distilled from the bounty of the Pacific Northwest or creating new custom flavours to celebrate innovation in the whiskey category, I’m proud to lead this next generation of distillers.”

Hood River is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year and is described as the ‘Pacific Northwest’s largest and oldest distillery’, having been founded in 1934.

The company produces a range of spirits from brands such as Forthwest Whisky, Batanga Tequila and Easy Rider Kentucky Straight Bourbon.

On promoting Bartlemay, David Ballew, president and CEO of Hood River Distillers, added: “Caitlin’s vigilant commitment to excellence in every facet of her job is one of the qualities that has made her such an exceptional member of our team.

“Her passion for quality and craftsmanship is evident in each product that she touches. It’s only fitting that as we celebrate our 90th anniversary, we recognise Caitlin for her leadership in helping Hood River Distillers and its brands continue their heritage of quality in the Pacific Northwest.”

In 2018, the company supported the National Forest Foundation in its reforestation work, following devastating fires which hit the area the year before.

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Author: Rupert Hohwieler