Clear Creek Distillery

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Clear Creek Distillary
Industry Distillery
Founded 1986
Founder Steve McCarthy
Headquarters 45°32′16″N 122°42′02″W / 45.53784°N 122.7005°W / 45.53784; -122.7005Coordinates: 45°32′16″N 122°42′02″W / 45.53784°N 122.7005°W / 45.53784; -122.7005, Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Products Distilled and blended liquors
Owner Steve McCarthy

Clear Creek Distillery is a distillery based in Portland, Oregon. Clear Creek Distillery is most well known for its eau de vie, though today the company also makes a variety of other fruit brandy, aged spirits, and liqueurs.


Clear Creek Distillery was founded in 1986 by Stephen McCarthy in order to begin producing distilled spirits from the abundant fruit crop of Oregon.[1]

The McCarthy family had owned orchards in Oregon since the turn of the century, but shortly before the distillery's founding, Stephen McCarthy ran the family's alternative business of manufacturing hunting gun parts. This endeavor required travel to Europe, where Stephen encountered the Alsace tradition of producing pear eau de vie. He realized that the Williams pear, very popular for eau de vie production in Europe, was virtually the same as the Bartlett pears grown widely in Oregon, and thus he created his first batches of the spirit in 1985.[2]

Though Oregon wine was already internationally respected by the 1980s, true European-style fruit brandies were still considered very unusual in the United States at the time, and few American companies produced them. Today Clear Creek Distillery is one of the best known American eau de vie distilleries,[3][4] though the beverage is still a niche product not well-understood by U.S. drinkers.[4] The company was sold to Hood River Distillers in 2014.[5]


The distillery's "pear in a bottle" eau de vie

Based on the traditional eau de vie de Poire Williams, Clear Creek Distillery's pear eau de vie is its most popular product,[4] and it also sells a limited edition version with a pear grown inside the bottle.

It also makes traditional varieties of fruit brandy such as an aged apple brandy made from Golden Delicious apples,[6] framboise, Mirabelle plum eau de vie, kirschwasser, and slivovitz.[2] More unusually, Clear Creek produces an eau de vie made by adding the spring buds of the Douglas fir tree.[4]

In addition to eau de vie, Clear Creek also makes a variety of fruit-based liqueurs, grappa from Oregon wine grapes, and McCarthy's Single Malt whiskey.[1]


  1. ^ a b Felten, Eric (September 27, 2008). "The Fruits of Clear Creek Distillery's Labor". Wall Street Journal. 
  2. ^ a b Prial, Frank J. (February 5, 1989). "Wine; Oregon Original". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ Fauchald, Nick. "Buying Guide: Top Eau-de-vie Producers". Food & Wine. 
  4. ^ a b c d Asimov, Eric (August 15, 2007). "An Orchard in a Bottle, at 80 Proof". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ Spencer, Malia (January 24, 2014). "Hood River Distillers buys Oregon whiskey maker". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Prial, Frank J. (May 4, 2005). "One Family's Story: Apples to Applejack". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 

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