According to Clear Creek, Oregon’s Godfather of Distilling Has Died

Oregon’s Godfather of Distilling Has Died: 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.

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

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.

McCarthy hired Joseph O’Sullivan to join his team in 2005. Hood River Distillers promoted him to master distiller after purchasing Clear Creek Distillery in 2014. McCarthy, according to the master distiller, was his mentor and the source of all his knowledge for his current position.

“Steve has done it for many, many individuals,” O’Sullivan said. “I don’t know how he did such a fantastic job of finding groups of 25-year-old fools that would probably not want to kill each other when thrown together, but he trusted us amazingly,” said one of our members. His extraordinary generosity, thoughtfulness, and ability to listen rather than simply issue orders has influenced everyone he knows.

Oregon's Godfather of Distilling Has Died
Oregon’s Godfather of Distilling Has Died

He went on to say that McCarthy was able to play a variety of characters throughout his career. McCarthy, according to O’Sullivan, worked at TriMet, as a lawyer in New York City, and as a co-owner of a company called Michael’s of Oregon before founding Clear Creek Distillery in 1985.

McCarthy’s enthusiasm for the Pacific Northwest, according to O’Sullivan, inspired him to open the region’s first distillery. McCarthy has been recognised as a pioneer of Oregon’s distilling industry since the establishment of Clear Creek Distillery, but his influence appears to have extended far beyond the borders of the Beaver State.

He was a hysterical mess. Simply put, the man was larger than life. O’Sullivan has received messages from distillers all over the world in the last few days, each of whom thanks him for the opportunities and assistance he has provided.

McCarthy believed strongly in supporting local businesses, displaying regional pride, and exchanging ideas. McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Whiskey, named after its founder, incorporates all of these elements. This work is the pinnacle of McCarthy’s legendary career.

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

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