The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2017

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june 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  55 Commodore by Jamie Boudreau, Canon, Seattle ◗ 1½ oz. Burnside 4 Year Barrel Aged Bourbon ◗ ½ oz. Tempus Fugit Cacao ◗ ½ oz. fresh lemon ◗ Dash grenadine ◗ Shake and serve in a coupe. PHOTOS: JOANN ARRUDA Jamie Boudreau, owner of Canon in Seattle. except for scattered clusters of barrels, case boxes of spirits and vats of finished blends. In June, all this will move to a much smaller space at MotherLode, a bottling and production services facility that was recently acquired. Founded in 2008, Eastside has grown exponentially, yet the company owns but a single small still, used for its limited-production Eastside Labs series. The real magic is in the custom-blended product line, and Heim is the acknowl- edged wizard who makes it all happen. Her company bio touches briefly on her career. An English major in college, she apprenticed at Rogue Distillery and Public House in Portland before joining Eastside in 2012. Her recent promotion from Master Distiller to Executive Vice President of Operations puts her in charge of the company's accelerating growth, while continuing to oversee its expanding spirits lineup. A compact dynamo, she wears her blonde hair in a ponytail and dresses Portland casual—blue jeans and a gray t-shirt under black sweatshirt. A dedi- cated soccer player (keeper and forward), she also lays claim to being the youngest person in the state (at age 9!) to win a black belt in tae kwon do. She has since added two more and is also a certified master in jiu jitsu and aikido. "The discipline, focus and mental flexibility of the martial arts are applicable to the art of distillation," she believes. Mental preparation is essential to both, she adds, for building a work ethic and for thinking through every possible contingency in advance, in order to avoid, or at least handle, any problems that may arise. Perhaps that is why she is relaxed, even breezy, about the upcoming move to the new space, which is significantly smaller. Eastside Distilling is publicly traded (OTCQB: ESDI) and, as Oregon Sales Manager Pat Roth confirms, its Oregon sales have catapulted it from seventh to third among artisan distillers in just the past two years. MotherLode, says Heim, was principally acquired for its bottling line, and she assures me that it's big enough to accommodate Eastside's ambitious growth plans. A new pneumatic bottling line will quintu- ple the current bottling rate, providing large-volume spirit-handling capability. Eastside calculates these operations will be immediately accretive to earnings, with cost reductions associated with the acquisition and relocation exceeding $200,000 per annum. "All of our movement right now is based on the assumption that we are continuing on that same growth trajectory," says Heim. "In our busi- ness, you work and go up in gradual steps, until one day it's a vertical line. We have such a good customer base, distribution and the right products. So we are moving to a smaller space, and lessening our footprint, but our output will quadruple in the first year." She's particularly excited this morn- ing about 15 brand new Oregon oak barrels that have just arrived. They are the essential ingredient in one of Eastside's top sellers, Burnside Oregon Oaked Bourbon. Made by Oregon Barrel Works, the barrels are in high demand from wineries and very difficult to obtain. "If you make whiskey, you make friends," says Heim, when asked how she manages to score so many. It's no secret that the spirits industry is both highly competitive and prone to fads. Heim avoids fads (she calls them gimmicks), instead working to discover innovative trends. "The food industry has a huge impact on trends" she explains. "They're the ones who really launched organic, low sugar, gluten-free. So keep up with them and you're in good shape." Roth notes that vodka is again in vogue in Oregon, and Eastside's popu- lar offering is distilled from heirloom Polish potatoes for a clean, gluten-free spirit. "The scene here for craft spirits

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