If Lewis and Clark had just waited 209 years for their glorious expedition through the West, they could have wet their whistles in Hood River when Camp 1805 Distillery opened this past July.
Co-owned by Chris Taylor and Roy Slayton, Camp 1805 is named to honor the legendary explorers and their route through the Pacific Northwest. “It’s a direct reference to when Lewis and Clark camped in the Gorge on their way to the Pacific,” Taylor says. “We straddle two states and we pull products from all over the Pacific Northwest. We wanted our name to represent that.” And, just like Lewis and Clark, “We are two guys on a crazy expedition,” Taylor laughs.
Located on Hood River’s blossoming waterfront area near Pfriem Family Brewers and Solstice Woodfire Café & Bar, the craft distillery is one of the first in the state that will feature a full bar. Currently, the spirits on offer include clear rum, clear whiskey and vodka. Aged whiskey and rum will be available at a later date. Camp 1805 has plans for gin, bourbon and liqueurs made from local fruits. (Stay tuned for a liqueur made from local cherries!)
Inside the distillery, comfortable stools line the rustic bar, and ample tables frame bench seating along the distillery’s large windows. Just across the street, families enjoy the climbing wall, swim beach and picnic area of the waterfront park along with views of windsurfers and kiteboarders ripping it up on the Columbia River. “Hood River is beautiful, and I am also drawn to the water. The reason I live in the Gorge is that water, and here it is,” Taylor says.
Taylor says he found the craft element of the distillery business appealing. “There is something special about creating a product with your own two hands and having people enjoy it,” he says. “Grinding our grain in the morning and tasting it as it comes out of the still is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in a job.”
Stop by for a tour, a cocktail and a delightful view of summer on the river.