Crater Lake Enters the Tequila(ish) Game | Beer & Drink | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Crater Lake Enters the Tequila(ish) Game

A focus on rare or unique spirits for Bend distillery turns to an agave-based spirit



  • Crater Lake Spirits
Crater Lake Spirits is adding an entirely new flavor profile to its lineup of spirits—but don't call it tequila. The Bend-based spirits maker is rolling out the next in its Rare Spirits Collection, this time featuring a product made from agave. The Agave Spirit Reposado will taste like a tequila—but since the spirit was aged in Oregon, rather than made entirely in Mexico, Crater Lake can't technically call the spirit a tequila.

Mexican authorities heavily regulate the use of the term "tequila" to define blue agave spirits made primarily in the state of Jalisco—though some other Mexican states also have limited authority to use the term on products made in those states, too. It's the same approach used by French authorities to regulate the term "champagne," to exclude any sparkling white wine not made in the Champagne region of France.

"The spirit was sourced from a small distillery in Mexico several years ago and was aged in used Crater Lake Reserve Rye Whiskey barrels for eight months," said Alan Dietrich, CEO of Crater Lake Spirits. "The Rare Reposado is a 100% blue agave spirit distilled in Mexico. It actually conforms to the definition of tequila, but because we aged it here in Bend, we cannot legally call it this. This is a very rare, unique interpretation of the style."

The bottles were released Oct. 14 and available for $34.95 in the tasting rooms in downtown Bend and in Tumalo. Both spaces have been keeping regular hours—with social distancing and other safety protocols in place, of course.

The first release in the company's Rare Spirits collection was a Barley Whiskey, a five-year malted barley whiskey released earlier this past summer and available only in Crater Lake Spirits' two tasting rooms. The company expects to release more additions to its Rare Spirits collection in the coming year.

Crater Lake Spirits
1024 NW Bond St., Suite 102, Bend and
19330 Pinehurst Rd., Bend

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Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. (Blame her for everything since then.) Favorite car: A Trek commuter bike. Favorite cat: An adopted dog who looks like a Jedi master. Favorite things, besides responding to your comments: Downton Abbey re-runs, Aretha Franklin albums, and pink wine.

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