Spirits distillery in the works at waterfront business park

If the valley’s myriad gem-tone wines and amber-colored brew selections are not to your liking, another adult beverage producer is about to remedy that for visitors and locals alike – and no, that wouldn’t be another hard cider operation.

Camp 1805, a new distillery slated to produce a variety of spirits, is now under construction in the Port’s Waterfront Business Park.

Planning to occupy a 2,000 square foot space at 501 Portway Drive with their production and tasting room business, company founders and Gorge residents Chris Taylor and Roy Slayton are now jumping through the licensing hoops that will ensure their early fall opening.

“This is a huge opportunity,” said Slayton. “All over the West Coast these are popping up. We already have a great craft brewery business in the Gorge but we didn’t have craft distilleries.”

The duo, who were later joined by investor Jaime Athos, brainstormed the whiskey, vodka, rum and bourbon making idea while on a mountain bike ride in the hills of White Salmon.

“That was in 2007 and then the recession hit,” said Taylor. Awaiting the upswing in the economy, the duo began gaining the needed training to undertake their future roles as master distillers. Both have worked primarily in sales and marketing.

“We went through training at distilleries in Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts and Washington,” said Taylor. “The distilling community is very helpful when you are getting started, especially when you are not planning to open competition nearby,” said Taylor.

The pair plans to produce small batch clear malt whiskey, vodka and rum – both flavored and not. They also hope to add a blended bourbon and specialty spirits like coffee liqueur and cordials using local fruits.

“That is the creativity that a small craft distillery business can offer. This is the fun part,” said Taylor.

The facility will house their soon to arrive “Hoga” hand-wrought copper pot still, shipping in from Spain in May. An additional 400 square foot space will house their American Oak barrels, which will be used to age whiskey, bourbon and rum.

With the near simultaneous opening of a new Solstice Wood Fire Cafe in the space next door – slated for November 2013 – Camp 1805 hopes to work out some shared tasting and dining experiences.

The Hood River City Council approved the team’s application for a liquor license, which returns back to the OLCC at the state level for final approval. The federal license is still in process.

Taylor and Slayton and their investor acknowledge another “partner” of sorts in their road to opening.

“We received help from the Oregon Investment Board and Mid-Columbia Economic Development with new business loans,” said Taylor. They also received hands-on guidance from Columbia Gorge Community College’s Small Business Development Center.

“Our advisor Mary Merrill was phenomenal,” said Taylor. “She coached us through the process and without her, I don’t know where we’d be right now.”

The business plan for Camp 1805 includes the production area, which will be open for tours, a bar and a seating area, open at least five days a week. Retail bottle sales will be available.

As a tasting room, Camp 1805 will be allowed under Oregon law, to serve up to five half-ounce-size samples of their spirits per customer, per day, or five mini-cocktails containing the same total amount of alcohol. During planned special food-added events, full-sized cocktails will be available.

“We will only serve our own spirits,” confirmed Taylor.

When asked about the origin of the distillery’s name, Taylor said it references “the year Lewis and Clark camped on the shores of the Hood River” during their travels across the country. According to Taylor, the Corps of Discovery had already run out of whiskey by the time they hit the Hood.

“If we had been around, they wouldn’t have run out,” laughed Taylor.

On the more serious side, Slayton expressed his and his partners’ shared enthusiasm about the product they hope to produce.

“I want to make something people enjoy and appreciate, and I want to make it myself. Hood River is the perfect spot to do it. We hope the community will embrace this.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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