Nonalcoholic category continues its exponential growth in Oregon
Wilderton, a leading craft nonalcoholic-spirit producer, will open a new distillery and tasting room in the heart of Hood River on July 1, 2023. It’s the first of its kind in the United States. Founded by Oregonians Brad Whiting and Seth O’Malley, the company’s flavor-driven craft cocktails are bold, complex and sourced from nature’s finest botanicals.
The immersive tasting room will be open daily and will feature a range of experiences for visitors, including complimentary guided tastings of their distinctive nonalcoholic spirits and delicious craft cocktails for purchase. Additionally, a rotating specialty cocktail will be available, along with Wilderton Spritz happy hours each week this summer. For those wanting a more up-close look at where all the magic happens, scheduled tours of the facility are available, along with an exclusive peek into Wilderton’s research and development lab.
“Hood River has been my home for over 25 years,” Brad Whiting told Oregon Business in a written statement. “Over that time, I have seen the town mature into a globally recognized mecca for outdoor lovers and groundbreaking beverage brands across spirits, wine and beer. The pervasive ethos around living an active, balanced lifestyle is a perfect fit for Wilderton’s team and consumers who celebrate life here to the fullest every day!”
The new distillery is attached to the tasting room and features all distillation and production equipment, including a 1,500-gallon stainless vessel for extraction of whole, raw botanicals and a 1,000-gallon stainless vacuum pot still. The distillery will serve as a center for brand and category education, community engagement, and the exploration of nonalcoholic craft spirits.
The Wilderton team and Christina Tello of Tello Interiors worked closely to bring the building’s design to life. The company’s love of the Pacific Northwest radiates throughout the building. Most notably, the tasting room features an impressive 40-foot-by-16-foot hand-painted botanical mural by Jess Brinkerhoff that serves as a signature anchor and pays homage to the botanicals that comprise Wilderton’s signature spirits. In its commitment to sustainability, Wilderton ensured that the building was constructed to LEED Gold standards.
Wilderton sources its botanicals from around the world. The team draws from traditional methods of tea-making, perfumery and spirits distillation to transform raw botanicals into products that take beverage aficionados on a sensory journey. Prior to building this state-of-the-art facility, Wilderton products were crafted at partner facilities in Portland. The opening of this new location speaks to the company’s excitement for the future and its potential growth.
“I’m excited to watch the [nonalcoholic] category evolve as it grows exponentially,” shares Seth O’Malley. “As a distiller, the categories you’re typically working within are centuries old, so it’s thrilling to be on the forefront of something entirely new. That said, we’re bringing those traditional craft sensibilities to the world of [nonalcoholic beverages], and we believe that as the category matures, consumers and bartenders will become increasingly discerning about what’s in their spirits and how/who/where they’re made.” He continues, “We’ve strived to set that craft standard from the very inception of Wilderton and believe that will be at the heart of our long-term brand value. Our distillery and tasting room are concrete examples of that commitment.”
The tasting room and distillery are located at 407 Portway Avenue, Suite 100, in Hood River, with outdoor seating facing the Columbia River. Walk-ins are welcome for tastings, while tours of the facility will require reservations.