“...To capture the varietal characteristics of fruit as brandy.”
That was the idea, dream and challenge which prompted R.L. Nowlin, founder of Brandy Peak Distillery, to create this unique distillery. He, with his son, David, did so to meet the challenges that he himself laid down to the wine & spirits industry in 1984. Those challenges were made in his dissertation, Distilled Beverages - A Challenge for Tomorrow, given when he received the prestigious James F. Guymon Award from the American Society of Enology and Viticulture in 1984 for his contributions to the industry.
| In 1993, a distillery building arose from what had been a tangle of blackberry bushes, shrubs, and fir trees in a “land bowl” on 57 acres. Here, the country’s only two legal “wood-fired pot stills” were put in. The pot stills were designed by the senior Nowlin, drawing on his fifty-some years in the industry, and built by his former company, L & A Engineering. The name, Brandy Peak Distillery was chosen not only because the business is distillation of brandy, but that it is also the name of the highest mountain in Curry County, where it is located. |
In 1994, the first production run of brandies began. The two products were a Pinot Noir Marc brandy, and a Natural Pear brandy. In early 1995, the tasting room opened to the public, with set hours of operation. At the time, tasting rooms for spirits were rare in the U.S. and rarer still, were any with established public hours.
The tasting room was opened primarily to get customer feedback on our products. It was based on that feedback that the Aged Pear brandy was produced. In 1997, the Aged Pear brandy was entered in the Los Angles County Competition of the Americas, and later in the year, the San Francisco International Wine Competition. In Los Angeles, it received a gold medal and in San Francisco, a double gold medal. The Aged Pear brandy continues to be one of our most popular today. In 2009, it took the only double gold at the 6th Annual American Distilling Institute Brandy Conference.
Also as a result of customer feedback in our tasting room, is the Blackberry Liqueur. One of the memorable experiences of living or visiting the Oregon Coast in the summertime is the abundance and fragrance of sun-ripened wild blackberries growing in brambles everywhere. In the Pacific Northwest, many are the books, recipes and festivals celebrating this luscious berry. We, at Brandy Peak decided to do our part and capture the sweet taste and aromas of wild blackberries in a bottle - our Blackberry Liqueur. The wild blackberries used are picked, fully ripe, from around the local area and on our property. However, our pickers have gone up as far as the Agness Wilderness, close to where our namesake mountain is located to gather this tasty fruit. The Blackberry Liqueur was an instant hit with our customers, and continues to be one of our best sellers.
Present day, we have a product lineup of eight brandies and one liqueur. They can be viewed with a brief description at our Products List page. Now retired, R.L. occasionally gives a helping hand in the business while David, along with his wife, Georgia, are involved in the day-to-day operations.
David & Georgia Nowlin with Ryan Csanky- director, and Erik Martin- president, Oregon Distillers Guild at TOAST 2012