While in Oregon this past winter, I spent the majority of my time trying out local spirits producers. Surprise?
One such destination of note was Eastside Distillery (est. 2008), right on Distillery Row.
From peppermint bark liqueurs and ginger-infused rums to some serious barrel-aged whiskey, the unassuming little shop is also home to the only female distiller west of the Mississippi.
Mel Heim, after distilling at Rogue for three years, moved to Eastside as the Master Distiller. Today, she functions as its EVP of Operations (the most senior operational role at the Portland location).
Just last year, Eastside Distillery participated in The New York World Wine & Spirits Competition, taking home both a double gold for its Burnside Bourbon and a silver for its Barrel Hitch American Whiskey.
As the industry grows and the cocktail revolution pushes onward, it’s yet another sector where women have been missing for the majority of its existence. It’s great to see people like Mel Heim in a commanding industry lead.