Distillery coming to Newberg
At a 145-acre horse farm first claimed by Ewing Young in 1834, a new distillery will be built and an old barn will be converted into a tasting room by co-owner Bev Root.
After family members Jack Root and his wife Cookie purchased the property, Bev Root's husband, Doug, decided to research the history of the old farm on Highway 240 to find out who Ewing Young was.
They quickly discovered that Young "decided to start distilling before he died and the Oregon Temperance Society did not want him to distill," Bev Root said. "They paid Young to quit distilling and Young took that money and went to California to drive 600 head of cattle back to Oregon.
"When they paid Young to stop distilling, he included in the contract that, 'I will suspend my distilling in the present, but I reserve the right to distill in the future.' My husband and I said, wouldn't it be fun to re-open Ewing Young's distillery?"
Bev Root further explained how she got into the distillery business.
"After working in the legal industry for a large law firm, I burned out. My husband has been urging me to quit my job and just make the distillery happen," she said. "I started working on it full time in July of last year. It's a lot of work and I love every minute of it!"
She decided to go to distilling school in Kentucky and learn the trick of the trade.
To open a distillery requires jumping through some hoops. They have to get special permits from the federal government through the Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau and the industry is highly regulated.
"It took about six months to process the federal and state permits and our permits have been granted," Root said "We had to get a conditional land use permit and that took four months. It is a long process."
Although there are 91 listings for distilleries in Oregon, there is only one distillery and tasting room open at this time in Yamhill County.
"(There is) Ransom Spirits is in Sheridan and a second one is about to open called Branch Point in Dayton," Bev Root said.
When Ewing Young Distillery opens in 2018 Yamhill County will have a total of three spirit distilleries. Root intends to distill primarily whiskey, gin and vodka to start with.
The company will be named Ewing Young Distillery and they are expecting to start distilling in January in a separate building than the tasting room on the same property, which houses Oakhurst Equine Veterinary Services. The distillery will be located in the heart of Oregon wine country and is surrounded by 40 wine tasting rooms.
"I'm waiting for my building permit from Yamhill County. We should get the tasting room started soon," she said. "The tasting room will be in the corner of the barn, a portion of the stallion stable."