At the Rogue Distillery in Newport, Oregon our barrels have the best seat in the house.
The barrel aging room overlooks Yaquina Bay, the Pacific Ocean and the commercial fishing fleet. This is one of the busiest fishing ports in Oregon. Every year our friends and neighbors haul in a bounty of Dungeness Crab, Albacore , Pink Shrimp, Coho, Chinook, Halibut, and more than a dozen other types of fresh seafood.
You can even catch, clean and cook fresh Dungeness crab right off the docks in front of the Rogue House of Spirits and Brewery. Every day we breathe the salty ocean air of Yaquina Bay, and so do our barrels.
White Oak Barrels are crafted to to be watertight but not completely airtight. Every day, a little bit of the salt air of Yaquina Bay seeps inside. The process, known as micro-oxygenation, helps our spirits to age gracefully.
The terroir of ocean, bay, barrels and spirits will be even stronger next year when we open Rolling Thunder Barrel Works, a tree to table cooperage we’re building next door to the Rogue Distillery. The Oregon White Oak Trees we use to craft Rolling Thunder Barrels are growing in the Coast Range just 67 miles away. The trees will be milled in the Willamette Valley and driven to Rolling Thunder Barrel Works where we will joint them into staves, hoop and raise the barrels. Each barrel will be individually toasted to create a custom char for the spirit that will be aged inside it.
The revolutionary idea behind Rolling Thunder Barrel Works, is that the wood becomes an ingredient in our proprietary palate of flavors.
Barrel aging is one of the final steps in the Rogue Spirits journey from grain to glass. We grow the ingredients for our spirits on Rogue farms in Independence and Tygh Valley, Oregon. We floor malt and micro-malt our grains at our Farmstead Malt House. We roast and smoke our grains, peppers, hazelnuts and other ingredients here at the Rogue Brewery and Distillery in Newport. Then we mash, ferment, distill, ocean age and bottle our spirits by hand. Growing our own ingredients and processing them ourselves gives us the kind of hands on and quality control that you can’t get when you buy ingredients off store shelves
As much as we like how ocean aging helps us craft better spirits, we also like knowing that a little bit of the salt air of Yaquina Bay, and our hometown of Newport, is in every bottle of Rogue Spirits.