Thursday, February 26, 2009

Want to start your own craft distillery?

Oregon has been a pioneer in the craft brewing industry since the 1980s, when breweries in the Pacific Northwest sparked the national enthusiasm for micro-brewed craft beers. Today, the same pioneering spirit is fueling the development of the craft distilling industry -- the production of small batch, handcrafted distilled spirits in Oregon.

Oregon law expanded in 2008 to allow new business opportunities for craft distillers, and to help to promote the industry.

Craft distilleries can now offer tasting samples of their products at their distillery or at a separate tasting room, or sell their products by the glass or drink at a restaurant at their distillery or another location. Distilleries can also apply for an optional appointment as a retail outlet agent to sell bottled products manufactured at the distillery directly to consumers.

To start your own craft distillery in Oregon you will need to apply for federal permit and label approval, and apply for an OLCC distillery license and other state licenses and permits. You can also apply to become a Distillery Retail Outlet Agent, which allows you to sell your products by the bottle to consumers at your distillery or licensed tasting room.

Marketing and Selling Your Craft Spirits
After you are licensed, in addition to the sampling and sales mentioned above, you may also:
  • Apply to have your products available for sale in the 240+ statewide retail liquor stores in Oregon.
  • Promote your products to OLCC-licensed bars, nightclubs, and restaurants by providing tasting samples of your product(s) that the licensee doesn’t carry.
  • Participate in distilled spirits educational seminars and sample tasting events sponsored by on-premises sales licensees at their licensed business.
  • Provide tasting samples of your products at OLCC retail liquor stores.
  • Provide samples of your products to attendees at industry trade shows.

The number of craft distillers in Oregon is growing, and much of that growth has been facilitated by the mutual support of other craft distillers in the state. The OLCC encourages all prospective artisan-distillers to learn from the experiences of their peers by contacting them individually or through their industry organizations.

For more information, visit the OLCC's website at, or by calling 503-872-5000 in the Portland Metro Area, or toll free at 1-800-452-6522.