Eastside Distilling Aims To Ramp Up Its American Single Malt Production - The Whiskey Wash

Eastside Distilling Aims To Ramp Up Its American Single Malt Production

By Nino Marchetti / June 12, 2019

Oregon’s Eastside Distilling, around a year or so ago, released their first American single malt whiskey, mostly courteous of stock that came about as a result of their acquisition of Big Bottom Distilling, another Oregon-based distillery. Those at Eastside must be particularly happy with whatever results they’ve seen in selling it as, fast forward to now, word recently came down from them about plans to ramp up production of it.

Eastside put in recently at their distillery a custom 500-gallon capacity still that was manufactured with German produced distilling copper and is designed specifically for higher volume production of their American single malt. Said still and associated malt fermenters are now in actual use, making whiskey from two-row malted barley that’s been grown in the Pacific Northwest. It is also being fermented with Big Bottom’s proprietary yeast strains that were said to have been “painstakingly developed for single malts by veteran Lead Distiller Travis Schoney.”

Eastside Distilling’s new still (image via Eastside Distilling)

The Big Bottom American Single Malt is aiming to follow guidelines set forth by the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission, a trade group pushing to have a federal standard legalized that sets specific criteria for what exactly an American single malt would be. These include:

  • Made from 100% malted barley
  • Distilled at one distillery
  • Mashed, distilled and matured in the U.S.
  • Matured in American oak barrels, not exceeding 700 L
  • Distilled to no more than 160 proof
  • Bottled at 80 proof or higher

“The ‘distilled at one distillery’ component of American Single Malt Whiskey is critical to the uniqueness of the product classification by the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission of which Big Bottom Distilling is a member,” said Schoney in a prepared statement. “Eastside and Big Bottom are one of the few craft distillers in the Pacific Northwest that can lay claim to meeting these standards. Two of three local distillers that compete with us were acquired by Remy Martin and Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, while a third has investment from Diageo. Obviously, we are not alone in being excited about the new American Single Malt Whiskey category and intend to become a leader in the premiere area of U.S. barley production in the Pacific Northwest.”

In addition to Eastside’s American Single Malt Whiskey, the still is also designed to produce gin, brandy, agave and rum products in much larger volumes than the company’s existing still. The still increases Eastside’s distilling capability to approximately 20,000 cases of product per year.