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Hands On Whiskey Distilling Workshop - Nov 2017
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Hands-on Whiskey Distilling Workshop and Basic Distillery Operation for the Start-up Distiller

James Whelan - Edgefield     Edgefield

November 12-16, 2017, at McMenamin’s Edgefield Distillery – Troutsdale, OR.


Instructor: James Whelan, Head Distiller at McMenamin’s Edgefield Distillery


This hands-on class covers the fundamentals of grain-to-glass whiskey production and business concerns in starting a distilled spirits plant. Participants will be able to smell and taste new make spirit as it is being distilled. Topics covered in this class include mash preparation, cooking corn, basics of fermentation and wash production, anatomy of a still, mechanics of distillation (stripping & spirit runs), sensory analysis of heads and tails cuts, barrel maturation, proofing & gauging, and bottling.


James Whelan:

James Whelan began brewing at 19 years old — a skill that allowed him to transition from bartender into brewer shortly after starting at McMenamin’s. After more than seven years brewing for McMenamin’s — at the Edgefield, West Linn and Oak Hills Breweries — he became head distiller in 2006. Since then, he has doubled the number of spirit lines produced at Edgefield and increased overall production from 1,500 cases to 5,000 cases. Whelan manages a distillery crew that includes two full-time distillers and a distillery brewer. The Hogshead Whiskey recipe that he developed earned Best of Class, Whiskey in ADI’s 2011 Judging of Craft Spirits.


$3,500 fee includes:

  • Hands-on distilling instruction at McMenamin’s Edgefield Brewery and Distillery
  •  Tour of Portland distilleries
  •  Breakfasts, lunches Monday through Thursday.
  •  Welcome reception Sunday, and dinner Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
  •  Airport transportation for arrival and departure will be arranged via select shuttles
  •  Stay at the Edgefield Hotel Sunday through Thursday nights. Your reservation will be made for you.

Hotel and transportation:

The Edgefield Hotel, and most of McMenamin’s hotels, are unique properties and offer an unparalleled experience. The rooms are European style with bathrooms located in the hall, and hand-painted murals are featured throughout the property.

Plan on arriving at PDX Sunday Nov 12 before 4p.m. and departing Friday Nov 17 before noon. We will run a shuttle around noon and 4pm on Sunday and 2 on Friday (depending on departures).



For more information, contact:

    • Andrew Faulkner – 415-517-7377 – 
    • Anne-Sophie Whitehead – 973-698-4861 –


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