What is said to be the country’s first exclusively non-alcoholic distillery and tasting room will open its doors later this week in Hood River, Oregon. Wilderton, a craft non-alcoholic spirits producer, will open its unique, one of a kind tasting room along the Hood River waterfront on Saturday, July 1, 2023.
Wilderton is a non-alcoholic spirits maker in a category that is gaining momentum as non-alcoholic cocktails, or mocktails, are increasing in popularity. The non-alcoholic sprits brand was founded by fellow Oregon craft spirits veterans Brad Whiting and Seth O’Malley. The pair came together with a shared mission: to create amazing liquids that would celebrate the complexity and experience of a traditional spirit but pair better with an active lifestyle.
Unlike other non-alcoholic spirits, Wilderton does not name their spirits with the similar name of their alcoholic counterpart. Wilderton creates bold, non-alcoholic spirits expertly crafted from raw botanicals sourced from around the world to re-imagine no and low-alcohol cocktails.
The result is a lineup of three botanical non-alcoholic spirits – Lustre, Bittersweet Apertivo, and Earthen.
Lustre – Crisp, citrusy and bright, Lustre livens up every occasion with a refreshing blend of orange, tarragon, and lavender. Simply mix with tonic water and pour over ice to instantly transport your backyard barbecue to the lush, refreshing lakes and rivers of the Pacific Northwest.
Bittersweet Apertivo – Invite a refreshing new expression to the evening golden hour with Bittersweet Aperitivo. The intriguing blend of grapefruit, orange blossom, and aromatic herbs will invigorate your taste buds, while the pleasing bittersweet finish will leave you wanting another. Just add soda water, ice, and a twist of fresh lemon for the perfect sunset libation.
Earthen – Smooth, sultry and spicy, Earthen invites you to savor every sip with a heady combination of white peppercorn, pine-smoked tea and cardamom. Simply mix with ginger ale and a slice of fresh lime for a drink that invokes deep conversations with a friend while cozying up by the fire or quietly unwinding solo after the day.
The opening of the new tasting room also coincides with its new on-premise distillery. This new facility will feature a 1,500-gallon stainless vessel for extraction of whole, raw botanicals, and a 1,000-gallon stainless vacuum pot still. The immersive tasting room will be open daily and offer scheduled tours of the facility and a behind-the-scenes look at Wilderton’s R&D lab where art, science, and innovation merge.
The distillery tours will allow visitors to witness the production process and experience a sensory journey through the various Wilderton botanicals: citrus, bitter roots, exotic spices, precious woods, and everything in between. Distillery tours will be available for visitors weekly and are by reservation only.
Prior to building this state-of-the-art facility in Hood River, Wilderton was produced at partner facilities in Portland. Seth O’Malley, Wilderton Founding Distiller, expressed his excitement about the implications of this new production facility, “Having the right equipment hand-picked by our team for extraction and distillation at our own Wilderton distillery means we have more opportunities to tinker and continually refine our offerings. It also gives us space to develop new products, including limited edition releases and seasonal offerings. In addition to creating our own production space, it was equally important for us to have a physical space to build community, share ideas, and connect over the rich world of botanical spirits.”
Wilderton CEO & Co-Founder Brad Whiting shares, “In the traditional spirits world, I have seen firsthand how a home distillery and tasting room provides a powerful anchor for exploration, innovation, and brand transparency. This is crucial in the non-alcoholic space as we introduce a whole new experience to our guests and elevate the appreciation of our craft process and products with bartenders. Spearheading this milestone and doing so in my hometown of Hood River feels especially sweet.”
When it came to designing the tasting room, O’Malley and Whiting wanted something that was unique and inviting. In doing so they reached out to Christina Tello ofTello Interiors. The Wilderton Tasting Room interior design reflects the unique spirit of the Pacific Northwest. Notably, a stunning 40’x16″ hand-painted botanical mural byJ. Brinkerhoff will serve as a signature anchor and pay homage to the botanicals that comprise Wilderton’s signature spirits. Sustainability was also a priority during the design process, with the building constructed to LEED Gold standards.
Wilderton’s new tasting room and distillery are located along the Hood River waterfront with outdoor seating facing the Columbia River. It will be open to the public seven days a week from 12pm to 6pm. Walk-ins are welcome for tastings and non-alcoholic cocktails, while tours of the facility will require prior appointments. To learn more about Wilderton’s new tasting room and distillery or to make a reservation visit wildertonfree.com/pages/tasting-room.
Wilderton 407 Portway Ave, Suite 100 Hood River, OR 97031
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.