Oregon Godfather Of Distilling Has Passed Away, According To Clear Creek

Godfather Of Distilling: It was in 1985 when Steve McCarthy established the country’s third distillery and the first in the Pacific Northwest. The Clear Creek Distillery has announced the passing of its founder, McCarthy, after nearly 40 years of innovative work in the spirits industry.

Clear Creek Distillery said of him on Instagram on Thursday, “He was a giant among men, an adventurer, conservationist, community leader, father, mentor, and friend.” Neither the depth of our personal and professional thanks nor the breadth of our sorrow at his passing can be adequately expressed at this time.

Oregon Godfather Of Distilling Has Passed Away

On Saturday, January 7th, McCarthy would have turned 80 years old. Several members of the Clear Creek team looked up to him as a second father.

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In 2005, McCarthy hired Joseph O’Sullivan to join his team. Hood River Distillers, which bought Clear Creek Distillery in 2014, promoted him to master distiller. The master distiller claims McCarthy was his mentor and the source of all his knowledge for his current role.

O’Sullivan remarked, “Steve has done it for many, many individuals.” To paraphrase one of our members: “I don’t know how he did such a terrific job of finding groups of 25-year-old fools that would probably not want to kill each other when they’re thrown together, but he trusted us amazingly… Everyone he knows has been influenced by his extraordinary generosity, thoughtfulness, and ability to listen rather than merely issue orders.

Oregon Godfather Of Distilling Has Passed Away
Oregon Godfather Of Distilling Has Passed Away

He elaborated by saying that McCarthy was able to play several different characters during his lifetime. O’Sullivan claims that prior to establishing Clear Creek Distillery in 1985, McCarthy held positions at TriMet, as a lawyer in New York City, and as a co-owner of a business called Michael’s of Oregon.

O’Sullivan claims that McCarthy’s enthusiasm for the Pacific Northwest was what drove him to open the region’s first distillery. McCarthy has been honored as the pioneer of Oregon’s distilling industry since the establishment of Clear Creek Distillery, but it appears that his influence extended well beyond the borders of the Beaver State.

He was a huge ball of hysteria. The man was simply larger than life. Over the past few days, O’Sullivan has received messages from distillers all over the world, each of whom thanks him for the possibilities and assistance he has given them.

McCarthy was a strong believer in supporting local businesses, showing regional pride, and exchanging ideas. McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Whiskey, appropriately named after its founder, is a combination of all of these elements. This work is a crowning achievement in McCarthy’s legendary career.

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What Steve proved was that there is a market for products that reflect the creator’s interests and the creator’s regard for the creator’s home environment. According to O’Sullivan, “he basically encouraged folks to explore their interests and helped reassure them that doing so was OK.”

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